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It all depends on whose hands it’s in…

I recently read a poem that helped me to see the perspective of my life in the Creator’s hands. I hope it does the same for you. It’s comforting to remember that our refuge [a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble] is in God (see Ps 62:7).

It All Depends on Whose Hands It’s In

A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.
A basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands is worth about $33 million.
It depends on whose hands it’s in…

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.
A baseball in Mark McGuire’s hands is worth $19 million.
It depends on whose hands it’s in…

A tennis racket is useless in my hands.
A tennis racket in Pete Sampras’ hands is a Wimbledon Championship.
It depends on whose hands it’s in…

A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal.
A rod in Moses’ hands will part the mighty sea.
It depends on whose hands it’s in…

A sling shot in my hands is a kid’s toy.
A sling shot in David’s hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends on whose hands it’s in…

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God’s hands will feed thousands.
It depends on whose hands they’re in…

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.
Nails in Christ Jesus’ hands will produce salvation for the entire world.
It depends on whose hands they’re in…

As you see now it depends whose hands it’s in.
So put your concerns, your worries, your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your families and your relationships in God’s Hands.
Because, it depends on whose hands they’re in.

—Paul Ciniraj (a missionary in India)

Now would be a great time to praise Jesus, Who holds all things together (see Col 1:17)!

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Leave24 Responses to testIt all depends on whose hands it’s in…

  1. Jay Liverstitch January 26, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Mark James,

    On the Jan 19th post you wrote “If polyploidy was ever an important factor in evolution then we would expect organisms with more chromosomes to have had a greater opportunity for mutation and therefore should be more evolved. Unfortunately this is not the case.”

    You’ll need to define what you mean by “more evolved” in order for that statement to make much sense. I’m going to assume for now that you mean “more complex”. There is no reason why polyploidy should necessarily lead to more complex organisms, unless their environment changed such that complexity made them more fit. This is another case of moving the goalpost. We were challenged to provide examples of what you termed “an increase in genetic information”. John and others provided just that, by any definition I can possibly imagine. Then, when confronted with that example, you move the goalpost so that it no longer counts unless the organism has also become “more evolved”, whatever you believe that to mean.

    You continued “Antifreeze in ice fish appears to be the result of an increased expression of genes coding for proteins that respond to environmental stress. If that is the case, nothing new has been created.”

    Well… except for the ability to survive in previously unsurvivable cold waters.

    In point of fact, it has been shown that at least some cold water fish, acquired this ability through a duplication, and modification of an existing gene that performed, and continues to perform, a completely unrelated function. This is not a case of “increased expression”, but of the creation of an entirely new protein that acts as antifreeze in the fish’s bloodstream. An existing gene that coded for a similarly structured, but functionally separate protein, was duplicated, then mutated independently to code for a protein that had previously not existed in that organism. If you don’t accept this as an example of “increased information” then I can hardly imagine that you’d accept anything. You can read more on this topic, and even read the pear reviewed work done by Christina Cheng, by googling “evolution of antifreeze proteins”.

    I’ve not yet addressed your original post on this topic, so I will do that in my next post.

    Jay

  2. Stephen Holshouser January 26, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    This is a response to John Bebbington’s challenge to me from the “Why don’t creatures today look the same as pre-flood fossils?” thread that is closed. It will definitely include praise to Jesus, so maybe it will be appropriate here as well.

    John Bebbington (part 1),

    “Outside of the late insertion of the Comma Johanneum who did Jesus say he was? Chapter & verse, please.”

    Thank you, John… you knew I would like to do this, didn’t you? I’m beginning to think you like to hear me preach. : ) (The Comma Johanneum was not Jesus speaking, btw.)

    John 14:6-9
    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?

    John 10:30-33, 36
    I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
    Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God… …Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

    Luke 23:3
    And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And (Jesus) answered him and said, Thou sayest it.

    Revelation 1:7-8, 17-18
    Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty… …And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
    I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

    Above are just a few things that the Lord Jesus said about Himself, and He also accepted worship in the verses below;

    John 20:27-29
    Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

    Matthew 8:2-3
    And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

    Matthew 28:9
    And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

    Now, I could go all day about what everyone else in scripture says about Him… John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1, etc., etc.

  3. Stephen Holshouser January 26, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    John Bebbington (part 2),

    “There is no evidence for that whatsoever. No-one, including you, has the foggiest idea who the Gospel writers were . Paul witnessed nothing. By his own admission his belief came by revelation only and any knowledge he had of any real-life Jesus and his crucifixion is absent in his writings. There is no historical evidence that any of the disciples died for their belief in the reality of a risen Godman, Jesus.”

    Did I say gospel writers or New Testament writers? You also have the writers Jude and James the half-brothers of Jesus (C’mon, how many people do you think would claim that their brother that they grew up with was the sinless Son of God?) Then you have Peter, Jesus’ close friend and Apostle, who was crucified upside-down. And of course, John who wrote 5 books of the Bible. I don’t think John was martyred, but he did suffer for Jesus sake (Rev 1:9). Besides, there’s no good evidence that Matthew didn’t write Matthew or that Mark didn’t write Mark. It is clear that Luke wrote Luke and that John wrote John. Luke was probably not an eyewitness like the Apostles were, but he was in contact with the Apostles and other eyewitnesses. (Again, these men spent at least 3 years travelling with Jesus and couldn’t find any fault with Him, nor could His enemies… think about that.) Then, of course, there is Paul who DID meet the resurrected Christ, howbeit, supernaturally. Jesus changed blaspheming Saul into His faithful servant Paul, who died affirming that He had personally met the resurrected Christ. If you will recall, ALL of the encounters with Jesus were supernatural after His resurrection… He would appear and disappear and then finally went up into the clouds out of sight to return in like manner.

    If anyone at all died for the Lord Jesus, it was precisely because they believed He was the resurrected God-man. What, exactly, are you wanting for “historical” evidence of the martyrdom of the eyewitnesses? If you are wanting notarized video footage of the apostles being martyred, I don’t think I’ll be able to give that to you. But, sir, if you can’t accept the Bible, you can’t accept any historical writing.

  4. Stephen Holshouser January 26, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

    John Bebbington (part 3),

    I previously said… it was well known throughout the land of that day and time who Jesus was and what He did.

    “I know of no historical evidence to this effect. Enlighten me.”

    Read the secular writings regarding Jesus and Christianity by Pontius Pilate, Cornelius Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny, Lucian, Trajan, Hadrian, Josephus, etc… all done at the time of or shortly after Christ’s time on earth. Google “secular history of Jesus” Also, read Luke 23:8, Acts 17:6 and 26:26

    To answer your later remark about Pliny the Younger not having a clue about christians, here is a quote from Pliny when writing to Emperor Trajan about Christians in Epistles X96…

    Christians were “meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verse a hymn to Christ as to a god, and bound themselves to a solemn oath, not to do wicked deeds, never commit fraud, theft, adultery, not to lie nor to deny a trust. . . ”

    I previously said; Their writings were within the lifetime of the other eyewitnesses.

    “Such as who? Names please.”

    Anyone living at that time and place, no matter who it is. For example; if you wrote a book about the life and habits of King Henry VII, no one would be around to say, “No, that is not what he was like… I was there.” However, if you wrote about Princess Diana, you would have all kinds of people around who could personally confirm or deny your statements… Thus, you would have to be very accurate when writing about people or things that other people still alive have also known or experienced.

  5. Stephen Holshouser January 26, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    John Bebbington (part 4),

    “No one paid any attention to early christians. Indeed, there was no movement identifiable as “christianity” for many years. Even 80 years after the supposed death of Jesus Pliny the Younger hadn’t got a clue who christians were or what they believed. In fact, most problems occurred between groups of “christians” rather than between “christians” and the local populations.”

    Which one is it, John? “There was no identifiable early Christian movement” or “early Christians only had problems with other Christians”? Get back to me when you get your story straight.

    “What did they have to lose?”

    They lost their families who did not believe, they lost their businesses, they lost their place in society, and many lost their lives. Matthew 10:16-25.

    “I hoped they would – most don’t. Indeed, I would expect your fellow christians to already know the texts. Is it not the case that the three histories of John, Luke and (Matthew + Mark) all disagree? Did I speak the truth?”

    Read it carefully without your atheistic colored glasses on. What did Matthew and Mark say that Jesus cried immediately before dying in Matthew 27:50 and Mark 15:37? Answer; they don’t say. Now, does John say that Jesus’ very last words were “it is finished” in John 19:30? Answer: No. Luke is the only one that says what His last words are in Luke 23:46. A writer leaving out a statement does not mean it was never stated. So, right before Jesus gave up the ghost, He said; “It is finished; Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” which is perfectly consistant with all 4 gospels.

    I just want you to know that I gave up some time with my kids tonight to answer your questions, so please at least consider all of this. We were watching Ice Age 3, which was actually pretty funny… anyway, take care, sir… pip-pip, cheerio

  6. Jack Napper January 28, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    Stephen belched…

    Read the secular writings regarding Jesus and Christianity by Pontius Pilate, Cornelius Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny, Lucian, Trajan, Hadrian, Josephus, etc… all done at the time of or shortly after Christ’s time on earth.

    This list does more to destroy you rant than support it.

    1. So you known the exact dates of Jesus’ life? Alert the presses!

    2. Pontius Pilate’s name was recently discovered on a stoned tablet in Israel. Before that he was considered to possible be only a mythical figure. His existence adds to the credence (you might wanna look trhat one up) of Biblical history nothing more.

    3. Cornelius Tacitus was born after the supposed time of Christ yet writes about him in great detail However, as Tacitus does not disclose his source of knowledge and specific details are not given, the authority of Annals is controversial among Biblical scholars. Would you trust such a historian writing any other major figure? I think not. I suppose you believe the story of Atlantis. It has about as much credibility.

    4. Suetonius does a worse job than even the worst apologist. Heck even apologists are have been making a blunder of this one.

    5. Pliny talks about Christians and about Christ as part of their faith. Actually he whines about them. You were asked for historical evidence for the existence of Jesus. Why include him? I can curse Santa because I didn’t get a new 55-inch LED 3DTV in my stocking. Does that mean he’s real too?

    6. Trajan is included why? Oh yeah because of correspondence with Pliny. You’ve got no support here.

    7. Hadrian – the first apologist. I know it’s asking a lot of you but please do some real research next time. You might want to start with the etymology of the word CHRESTUS

    8. Josephus? Are you serious!?!?! This is one of the most cherry picked authors I’ve seen mentioned. He rarely mentions Jesus, if at all (even that’s contested), and doesn’t even bother mentioning much else like the 12 apostles, virgin birth, and much more is missing.

    So happy to see that you are more than willing to accept these as evidence but dismiss evidence for other items discussed in various blog entries.

  7. Alex M January 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    Ok, this was pretty inspiring until the last paragraph.
    And here’s why I have beef with it.

    Pete Sampras, Michael Jordan and Mark McGuire didn’t “magically” become legends because they believed in god.
    No.
    They became legends because they worked hard, sometimes ten hours a day towards a vision of being the greatest in their sport.
    It is really inspiring to see legends talk about how far hard work and dedication will get you.
    What is NOT inspiring is to see people who let their life be ruled by an invisible sky creature.
    Which brings me to my point.

    Responsibility.

    YOU are responsible for your successes.
    YOU are responsible for your failures.
    YOU are responsible for how your life goes.

    The moment you bring god into this, you put your life on the back burner. You suddenly make god responsible for your life. You essentially succumb to the superstitious belief that you have no control over your life and that whatever happens is “god’s will”.

    That’s not how it is and until you claim responsibility, you will NEVER be able to take control of your life.

    I hope this is one message that stays with everyone.

  8. Duane January 29, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    @ Stephen

    If you want to bring in questionable material concerning Jesus, why not bring in the Talmud and Celsus, which claims Mary was an adulterer and Jesus’s father was actually a Roman soldier named Pantera? A whole religion based upon a woman who really stuck to her story. Nearly all the cited instances are those that refer to Christians, whom no one doubts existed while others are questionable Christian insertion or forgeries. Josephus and the Testimonium Flavianum are an obvious insertion. Why would an observant Jew state that Jesus was not a man (implying he was divine) and that he was the messiah, when one is blasphemy and the other is not accepted by the Jews? He went on for pages about John the Baptist, but only a casual mention of the Messiah?

    Regardless, as I said, I believe a man Jesus most likely existed and that he was charismatic enough to engage a bunch of followers and nice enough that his enemies didn’t have anything bad to say about him. He still wasn’t the Messiah, though. I don’t understand the casualness in which Christians gloss over this. The main predictions concerning the Messiah are that he will bring peace to the world, gather the Jewish people from their exile to the land of Israel and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem as a King. After Jesus’ appearance (in which he did not become King), the Temple was destroyed, the Jews were exiled all over the world and we have not even had one day of peace in the past 2,000 years. (Many of the wars in fact were started and fought by followers of Jesus) These events are enough to show that he was not the messiah.

    Saying that he became King in Heaven and will come back later to do the rest is a bit of a cop out. “Can you prooooove He didn’t?” You know what? I don’t even care that much. If you want to live in your little fantasy world and imagine all this, have at it. I prefer Tolkien. Just don’t pretend that it’s real and think that I’m supposed to respect it and its nonsensical ideas about reality.

    Any other concordance, real or imagined, with the Bible is IRRELEVANT. As mentioned before, thanks to confirmation bias, it is not difficult to find passages that appear to hold some significant similarity to Jesus but there’s plenty that don’t. Also, just as with Pink Floyd the Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz, you can always find synchronicity if you look for it and are willing to reach.

  9. Stephen Holshouser January 29, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Jack Napper,

    Not even one FACEPALM?? I must be losing my touch…

    I was just answering John B’s question about other people during that time period outside of Christianity being aware of who He was. I’m not suggesting that we use or need these sources for evidence of who Jesus was/is… certainly we don’t.

  10. Caleb Fielding January 29, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    Hey Eric

    I was wondering have you ever read the story of gilgamesh? The other day one of the “sceptics” said that it disproved the flood story so I went to read it and as I got near the end where gilgamesh was describing a world wide flood I found it amazing that he said the flood caused people to turn into stone. I wonder if he meant fossilization. What do you think?

    Only posting here because There was not a more appropriate place to post.

  11. Stephen Holshouser January 29, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    Duane,

    I’m not saying the sources are inspired or that they are pure as the wind-driven snow… I was just pointing out there were many secular writings that mention Jesus Christ and His followers.

    So, Josephus’ stuff was an “obvious insertion” because it just doesn’t sound like something he would say, or because you have some actual evidence for that claim?

    Concerning Jesus’ title as Messiah; first, see my question posed again to you in the “even as agnostic” thread and answer if you can. Second, if you want to close your eyes, ears, and mind to the many, undeniable prophecies that Jesus fulfilled, well you are free to continue in that direction, though I wish you would reconsider instead of just trying to win a debate.

    “After Jesus’ appearance (in which he did not become King), the Temple was destroyed…”

    Precisely as Jesus said it would happen decades before it did! Did you know there are no recorded deaths of any Christians at Jerusalem in 70AD? Why? Because they got out, just like Jesus told them to do in Matthew 24.

    “(Many of the wars in fact were started and fought by followers of Jesus)”

    What teaching of Jesus were they following? Specifically, chapter and verse… We’ll be waiting on your answer.

    Duane, if your standard for accepting evidence of Jesus being the Messiah was the same as your standard for accepting evidence for macro-evolution, you would be a greater Christian than all of us put together.

  12. Jay Liverstitch January 29, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    Stephen Holshouser, re: your discussion with John Bebbington,

    I’m glad this topic has come up again, as I never got around to addressing it when you and I had a similar conversation.

    For those just tuning in, the essence of Steven’s statements is that one of the greatest reasons I should believe in the claims of Christianity, is because the apostles, which supposedly witnessed the purported events in the Bible, would not have been tortured and killed if they knew those events to be based on lies.

    The issues I take with this reasoning are many, and I’ll try to address them as systematically as possible.

    Authorship of the New Testament books – As John pointed out, most of the New Testament writings’ authorship are ultimately inconclusive. Many of texts themselves make no claim to being eyewitness accounts, often not even identifying the author’s name. For example, you mention the epistle of James as being written by the (half) brother of Jesus, but the text makes no such claim; only to be written by “James, a slave of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ”. It is Church tradition (tradition which, by the way, you largely reject. More on that later) that attributes this book to the James the Just, brother of Jesus. There is also a big difference between a work being written by an individual, and a work that is claimed to be written by that individual. I assume that you don’t, for example, accept the claimed authorship of the Gospel of Mary, or the Gospel of Thomas. And I believe you are right to not blindly accept those at face value. The question then is, why do you not apply the same level of skepticism to all the works of the Bible? Your standard of “proof” is inconsistently applied. You accept one standard of proof when you believe it supports your pre-drawn conclusion, but reject that same standard when it does not (again, more on this later).

    Eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection being martyred for their beliefs – I have several points on this one. Yet again, no-one is certain that most (if any) of the apostles were actually martyred. It is church tradition, that is, Catholic tradition, where most of the martyrdom stories originate. As I mentioned above however, you reject most Catholic tradition: the traditions that gave rise to Catholic theology like apostolic succession via Peter, transubstantiation, purgatory and the sacraments. I would like to better understand what method you use to determine which traditions you believe to be accurate, and which you do not.

    Secondly, I’m not convinced that these accounts are actually from eyewitnesses. The earliest known writings of supposed eyewitnesses, The Gospels of Matthew and John, differ from one another greatly, in chronology, detail (like the chronology of the post-resurrection sightings), and even theology if taken at face value (if you wish to discuss this point further, I’ll be happy to discuss more examples, but for the sake of a short post, I’ll leave it here for now.) Additionally, Matthew seems to have taken much of its content from the Gospel of Mark, who doesn’t claim to have been an eyewitness himself. So I ask, why would an eyewitness need to copy material from a second hand writer?

    Thirdly, I question whether the supposed eyewitness accounts are trustworthy. Even if I were to grant that all the claimed eyewitness accounts were in fact eyewitness to the events described, I still would have to apply a great deal of skepticism to their claims. There are many eyewitness accounts of events that have taken place even within my and your own lifetimes which neither of us believe to be trustworthy. I assume you don’t believe the eyewitness accounts of psychic surgery performed by John of God, or the supposed miracles performed by (or through) Benny Hynn or Peter Popoff. Do you accept the stories of Aimee Semple Mcphereson having raised the dead back to life back in the 20′s? You no doubt reject at least some of these, as well as many other eyewitness stories, but choose to believe stories about events that occurred almost 2000 years ago, which weren’t even written down until at least 30 years after the supposed events they recount.

    Lastly on this point, your claim that the apostles were killed ”because they believed He was resurrected God-man” is a distortion of history. It is probably true that some or perhaps even most of the apostles were killed under Nero’s Christian persecution. But it’s important to note the distinction between being killed because your particular ethnic or religious group has been chosen as a scapegoat by the political powers, and being killed due to the beliefs you hold, and/or your unwillingness to recant them. By claiming the apostles wouldn’t have died for what they knew to be a lie, you are poisoning the well, leading us to believe that the apostles would have even been given a chance to recant of their beliefs and be spared when there is simply no reason to believe this would be the case. It seems that, for reasons not entirely understood, Nero blamed the Christians for the great fire of Rome in 64AD, rounded them up, tortured them until they confessed, and then executed them. Tacitus claims this was to deflect from accusations that Nero himself caused the fire, but this in no way confirmed. There is no indication that they were killed only if they refused to deny the risen Christ. For comparison, think of the atrocities committed in 1930′s and 40′s Germany. The Jews were arbitrarily blamed for the political and social ills of Germany but it had nothing to do with their refusal to reject their religion. They were simply an easy target for political misdirection, as it seems was the case with early Christians. I will also briefly note here, that willingness to die for what you believe to be true, even what you have personally experienced, is not an accurate measure of truth value of that belief and/or experience. If it were, then you would also be forced to accept that Buddhist monks who claim to have experienced Nirvana and then willingly undertaken their own immolation, must have been correct. After all, why would they die for something they know to be a lie?

    On a few more of your points… You mention references to Jesus in the works of contemporary historians. Leaving aside the possibility that some or all of these references were later, medieval insertions, none of these references corroborate the aspects of Jesus that we are disputing. I don’t deny that a man named Jesus (or Yeshua) probably wandered Judea around the turn of the first century, teaching and stirring up a bit of controversy. Perhaps he was even crucified. What I dispute is that he was God incarnate, that he performed supernatural feats, and that he rose from the dead. Offhanded mentions in Josephus, Tacitus and Pliney do nothing to lend any weight to these unsubstantiated events. Also note that Tacitus and Josephus both mention other miracle workers in the region at the time, but you don’t accept those with the same level credulity as you do with the mentions of Jesus. Josephus states outright that it was Onius’ (probably Honi the Circle Drawer) prayer to God that brought an end to the drought. Tacitus claims that Emperor Vespasian worked healing miracles in Alexandria.

    I hope you can see the pattern I intend to demonstrate: with all of the above examples, you are exercising confirmation bias. You accept Catholic traditions and documents only as much as they confirm your desired belief, and you take Tacitus and Josephus’s statements at face value, but only when they align with your conclusions. Everything that doesn’t confirm you belief, you treat in the same manner as I. Neither us believe Vespasian was capable of supernatural healing, and neither of us believe the eyewitness accounts of John of God’s surgeries.

    Last time we had this conversation, you accused me of treating historical records inconsistently; blindly accepted American and Roman secular history, but rejecting anything in the Bible. I would argue that it is you who apples your credulity and skepticism inconsistently. I at least attempt to apply them both the same. For example, I don’t believe that George Washington had wooden teeth or that Abe Lincoln walked two miles to return two pennies, but I’ve read both of them in secular history books. I am likewise skeptical of all supernatural claims; you seem to only be skeptical of the ones that aren’t based in Protestant Christianity.

    I hope you enjoyed Ice Age III. I’ve never seen it, but in the first one, I simply couldn’t get enough of that goofy squirrel :-)

    Jay

  13. Stephen Holshouser January 30, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Alex M,

    “YOU are responsible for your successes.
    YOU are responsible for your failures.
    YOU are responsible for how your life goes. The moment you bring god into this, you put your life on the back burner. You suddenly make god responsible for your life. You essentially succumb to the superstitious belief that you have no control over your life and that whatever happens is “god’s will”. That’s not how it is and until you claim responsibility, you will NEVER be able to take control of your life.”

    I share your belief in personal accountability / responsibility. However, what control do you have over when and where you were born? What family you were born into? What phenotype or genotype you have? What opportunities present themselves to you? What tragedies, accidents, or illnesses that happen? What others do around you?

    We like to think we are in control, but we have NO control over most of the things that shape our lives… it’s just a fact and there’s nothing “superstitious” about it. Sure, you have some ability to control some things… but who gave you the strength to do that, who is keeping your heart beating and your mind functioning? Who is holding the universe together and your life in existence? Answer: Not you.

    Colossians 1:16-17
    For by (Jesus Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

    The Lord has given us things we are responsible and accountable for, though, which we will all give account of at the Day of Judgment.

    One last thing; you preach a good message about personal responsibility. Politically, would you classify yourself as a liberal, progressive, socialist, or communist?

  14. John Bebbington January 31, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    Jeff Brace: “Once again you waste time with what you think are witty comebacks but you really didn’t address any issue. Another common argument is changing the meaning of certain claims such as big bang, micro and macro evolution. Purely a waste of yours and my time again.”

    I haven’t changed the meaning of anything. I asked you questions concerning your claims but you have not addressed them.

    For instance, as far as I am aware (and please correct me if I am wrong) it is not claimed except by creationists that energy was created at the time of the so-called Big Bang, an inaccurate term invented not by a Big Banger but by Fred Hoyle, nor, indeed, did the event involve “a massive explosion of gases” as you put it.

    Secondly, you misquote the “Laws of Conservation” which do not state what you claim in that mass and energy have an equivalence rather than being different things. Mass as matter can change into energy but energy is just a form of mass and vice versa.

    As for your comments on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics at what point does a universe come to an end?

    Micro and macro evolution are not terms used by science but by anti-evolutionists and, to date, I have seen no proof of the creationist supposition that families (or baramins) did not have precursors. Where is your evidence?

  15. andrew Ryan January 31, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Jeff Brace: “And somehow that is my fault correct? I have no control ove the site.”

    Jeff, I’m baffled by your post. Who says that’s your fault? There’s nothing in my post to suggest I was blaming you. Read my post again, and the post of yours it was addressing.

    You were making a claim about the intentions of the people running the site and their honesty. My post addressed this claim, and why I am skeptical about it. This has nothing to do with your culpability for the site; it just calls into question your claims for the site.

  16. andrew Ryan January 31, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    Jeff Brace: “No I am not out of work. My point was that I tend to post at places where I clearly agree with the content. I don’t waste time going to atheist websites and clog up their blogs with creationist views.”

    You’re attempting to claim a highground here, but contrary to your claims, all the posts I see from you here are arguing with people you disagree with. That is what you engage with. In that respect you are no different. To the posters you loftily dismiss as time wasters, and yet continue to respond to what they post.

    Attacking their reasons for posting strikes me as just a way of trying to ‘win’ the argument without actually refuting any of their posts. Who answered our point to Kent about dinosaurs walking on hind legs, which ruined his whole argument? Who has offered valid cites for the quotes he gave us purporting to be from Huxley, Sir Arthur Keith etc?

    You agree with the content here? Then explain how you maintain that support in the face of clear refutations of the Hovind claims.

  17. John Bebbington January 31, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Stephen Holshouse (part 2)

    I am aware that a number of others have responded but I thought I would put in my pennyworth before reading them as we may have different perspectives.

    “Did I say gospel writers or New Testament writers? You also have the writers Jude and James the half-brothers of Jesus (C’mon, how many people do you think would claim that their brother that they grew up with was the sinless Son of God?) ”

    C’mon. Verse 17: “”remember what the apostles foretold”. That doesn’t sound like it was written by Jesus’ sibling, does it? Nor does it sound that it was written within decades of the main event. If he was J’s bro he must have lived to a ripe old age which rather debunks the idea that the apostles lived in fear of their lives.

    “Then you have Peter, Jesus’ close friend and Apostle, who was crucified upside-down.”

    Who says? I know of no contemporary report, historical or biblical.

    “And of course, John who wrote 5 books of the Bible. I don’t think John was martyred, but he did suffer for Jesus sake (Rev 1:9). ”

    The John of Revelation certainly went mad. Personally, I think it unlikely that whoever wrote the gospel could have had anything to do with Revelation.

    “Besides, there’s no good evidence that Matthew didn’t write Matthew or that Mark didn’t write Mark. It is clear that Luke wrote Luke and that John wrote John. Luke was probably not an eyewitness like the Apostles were, but he was in contact with the Apostles and other eyewitnesses. (Again, these men spent at least 3 years travelling with Jesus and couldn’t find any fault with Him, nor could His enemies… think about that.) ”

    There are so many points of difference in that one paragraph I won’t even bother to start to address them.

    “Then, of course, there is Paul who DID meet the resurrected Christ, howbeit, supernaturally.”

    Which, of course, is the same as NOT meeting him. The disciples as described in the gospels met the real physical Jesus (remember Doubting Thomas?). Paul “met” a supernatural Jesus which event he describes as being the identical experience as that of the disciples. These two claims are inconsistent.

    “If you will recall, ALL of the encounters with Jesus were supernatural after His resurrection… He would appear and disappear and then finally went up into the clouds out of sight to return in like manner.”

    i.e. there was no real physical resurrection. That’s not what most of your fellow Christians believe.

    “If anyone at all died for the Lord Jesus, it was precisely because they believed He was the resurrected God-man.”

    Then, by your admission, they were wrong.

    What, exactly, are you wanting for “historical” evidence of the martyrdom of the eyewitnesses?”

    Other than one of the many James in the NT, there were no recorded martydoms of eyewitnesses. In James’ case, it is a shame that Peter’s angel couldn’t save him as well.

  18. John Bebbington January 31, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    Stephen Holshouser (part 3):

    “it was well known throughout the land of that day and time who Jesus was and what He did.’

    There is no historical evidence whatsoever to that claim.

    “Read the secular writings regarding Jesus and Christianity by Pontius Pilate, Cornelius Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny, Lucian, Trajan, Hadrian, Josephus, etc… all done at the time of or shortly after Christ’s time on earth.”

    Not one of the above mentioned “Jesus”. 75 years after the crucifixion Pliny hadn’t even heard of christians.

    “Also, read Luke 23:8, Acts 17:6 and 26:26″

    Irrelevant; biblical commentary is not historical evidence.

    “Christians were “meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verse a hymn to Christ as to a god, and bound themselves to a solemn oath, not to do wicked deeds, never commit fraud, theft, adultery, not to lie nor to deny a trust. . . ”

    He only discovered that at the time. Before they were brought before him he had no idea who they were or of their origins.

    “For example; if you wrote a book about the life and habits of King Henry VII, no one would be around to say, “No, that is not what he was like… I was there.” However, if you wrote about Princess Diana, you would have all kinds of people around who could personally confirm or deny your statements… ”

    Printing had over a thousand years to go before its invention. This was not a time of cheap newspapers, magazines and books. Such material as there was (and there was a vast amount making all sorts of spurious and contradictory claims) few outside of Palestine would have had any knowledge of them or of the man Jesus. During his short time on the stump (one to three years – we don’t know how long) few could have known him in any meaningful sense. As for the occasional picnic of fish sandwiches for 5,000 guests, I once went to a similarly-sized Billy Graham event but had some deluded follower later told me of BG doing miracles I could not have denied it.

    “Thus, you would have to be very accurate when writing about people or things that other people still alive have also known or experienced.”

    Agreed. But there is no such historical evidence.

  19. Stephen Holshouser January 31, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    Jay Liverstitch, RE: Yea, hath God said?

    I’m just going to try and answer all your questions here and there throughout this rambling and probably boring response. I don’t think anybody is “tuning in” except me and you.

    You are right; I do reject Catholicism, but there is a big difference between the early church fathers and the Catholic Church throughout the centuries. I may agree with many things Catholics believe, just not everything. To answer your question about how I differentiate between which traditions (apostolic succession via Peter, transubstantiation, purgatory and the sacraments) are accurate or inaccurate; I go by what the Bible says… “Sola Scriptura.” For example; Official Catholic doctrine has stated that salvation can only come under their umbrella… via the Catholic Church with its sacraments, baptism and all that. However, the Bible says that there is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1Tim 2:5) and that salvation cannot be attained by any work that we do (Eph 2). So I go with the whatever the Bible says.

    I believe and accept the Bible for several reasons; it is a historically reliable source (the dates of biblically noted events and places are comparable to secular history). The NT is quoted from in other early writings (i.e. early church fathers). Those who were closest in time to the events and writings also acknowledge the same authorship (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) of the NT that we do today. It is said that you can almost reproduce the entire NT through the writings of the church fathers. We have thousands of Greek manuscripts that name the same author of each book, even from the earliest copies. No other author was ever suggested for any of the gospels… you might argue that Mark wrote down what he heard from Peter- (mentioned by Papias of Hierapolis in the 2nd century). The thousands of manuscripts and fragments of manuscripts that we have from all different countries, and time periods vary only in minute ways (no doctrinal issues), if any at all. When you gather these copies back together and compare them and they are still unchanged it demonstrates the accuracy and veracity of the texts. The Gnostic gospels are not so; they date at least into the 2nd century and vary from copy to copy throughout time and were obviously edited by the Gnostics to fit their beliefs. This, combined with their rejection by the early church, and their teaching that is contrary to the NT is why I reject these. For the NT, we have manuscript fragments dating less than 40 years from the original autographs, which adds to its trustworthiness (compare this to other historical writings). Read the intro to Luke and Acts and see if you think Luke was concerned with historical accuracy.

    Not only this, but the Bible still changes lives every day. It is beautiful and rings true with what you know is pure, good, and right. Even if rock to human evolution were true(and it ain’t), the best, healthiest, most beneficial, most peaceful, teaching that society could adopt would be NT Christianity. Following Jesus would be a blessing to anyone.

    Your claim that Matthew got his stuff from Mark is unverifiable. From the earliest times, Matthew is attributed as being the first Gospel written (50A.D.)

    Yes, the martyrdom of the Apostles is recorded outside of the Bible, but I have never seen anything that questioned the truthfulness of this (maybe some variation on how it happened). Like I told John B, I’m not going to be able to give you notarized footage of their deaths, but something tells me there would have been very early objections to this if it weren’t so. If any of Jesus’ dicsiples were killed for being Christians, it was because of what they believed about Jesus Christ. They could have recanted and bowed to Rome. The only way Rome knew for sure they were Christians is because that is what they claimed themselves to be without wavering. It isn’t like they all were a certain color or wore a Star of David or something. Sure, they could have just went back to their old life, never mentioned Christ again, got out of Dodge and been fine. The Christians were targeted because they would not acknowledge that Caesar “licensed” them to worship the way the wished. They were easy targets because they always met together on the first day of the week. They stood on the fact that they would worship God in spirit and in truth, regardless of any contrary authority.

    Having said all this, I know this won’t be enough to make you believe. You can’t even make yourself believe. Before I believed the gospel, I couldn’t believe either! Sometimes I even wanted to believe, but I just didn’t, simple as that. I’m not talking about a simple mental assent to some facts, I’m talking about a new heart of faith (Ezekiel 36:26). It took a work of the God that made the universe to change my heart and will to believe His Word and trust Him.

    Why don’t you believe George Washington had wooden teeth or that Honest Abe walked 2 miles to return the pennies? Maybe they did? Jay, I think I may have told you this before (I can’t remember), turn just half of your skepticism towards atheistic evolution… you’ll pulverize it!

    I don’t know if I’ve addresses all your questions, which seemed to be reasonable. You gave me too much homework this time! Let me know if I failed to address something. Yes, I finished Ice Age 3 with the kids a couple nights later… the squirrel thing was in this one too and was one of the funniest parts. : )

    2 Peter 1:16-21

  20. John Bebbington January 31, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Stephen Holshouser (part 4)

    “Which one is it, John? “There was no identifiable early Christian movement” or “early Christians only had problems with other Christians”? Get back to me when you get your story straight.”

    There are plenty of Kingdom Halls in my part of the country but the general population has no knowledge of any Jehovah’s Witnesses or their dogma. They know them only by their very occasional and extremely brief contacts on their doorsteps. As my father-in-law used to say to them: “See that gate? Do you want to go through it or over it?” – which is not an approach of which I approve. If it wasn’t for the large Kingdom Hall signs outside their places of worship most people would not know JWs existed at all.

    “They lost their families who did not believe, they lost their businesses, they lost their place in society, and many lost their lives. Matthew 10:16-25.”

    For which there is no historical evidence whatsoever. Also, in the same chapter Jesus tells his disciples to go and raise the dead. As in any one year about 2.5% of the population would die there would have been plenty of opportunities for them to comply with the instruction but we have no historical evidence whatsoever that they did so. Given the number of Jewish and Roman historians around at the time you would have thought there would be a few mentions of such miraculous events but there are none.

    “Read it carefully without your atheistic colored glasses on. What did Matthew and Mark say that Jesus cried immediately before dying in Matthew 27:50 and Mark 15:37? Answer; they don’t say.”

    ‘Crying out loud’ isn’t ‘speaking out aloud’.

    “Now, does John say that Jesus’ very last words were “it is finished” in John 19:30? Answer: No. Luke is the only one that says what His last words are in Luke 23:46. A writer leaving out a statement does not mean it was never stated. So, right before Jesus gave up the ghost, He said; “It is finished; which is perfectly consistant with all 4 gospels.

    ‘Father, why have you abandoned me’ followed by ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit’ are not consistent especially when it is your proposition that Jesus claimed to be very God.

    As to your final paragraph my 6 week-old grandson went home with his parents this morning so I know how you feel. Pip pip.

  21. John Bebbington January 31, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    Stephen Holshouser wrote: “Did you know there are no recorded deaths of any Christians at Jerusalem in 70AD? Why? Because they got out, just like Jesus told them to do in Matthew 24.”

    I don’t know of any history which records the deaths anywhere of any more than a handful of Christians prior to 70AD. Can you assist?

    All the Christians in Jerusalem would have been Jewish. The jews in Jerusalem died mainly from starvation (which is no respecter of personal beliefs) caused by Vespasian’s sieges. When the sieges were broken the Romans did not ask the defenders their beliefs before putting them to the sword. Afterwards, there was no-one left to record whether any Jewish Christians were slain.

    So it isn’t surprising that there are no recorded deaths of Christians at Jerusalem in 70AD. But not because Jesus warned them to leave.

    It would be more honest to say simply that there are no recorded instances of Christians leaving Jerusalem immediately before 70AD despite having been warned to do so in a 40 year old prophesy. Now that would have been something for a contemporary historian to write about.

  22. Stephen Holshouser January 31, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    Duane, (continued from “even an agnostic” thread)

    “Seriously? I took you for reasonably intelligent (deluded, perhaps), but then you throw Hovind’s strawman nonsense at me? One of the first things I ever posted in here was a condemnation of that Hovind lie. No scientist says we came from a rock. The Genesis story you guys are so fond of claims we came from dirt! Oh, but that’s perfectly sensible. We won’t mention the talking snake, the rib-woman, the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Lame Metaphors and the childish grudge God holds for setting them up. It’s just an ant and an aardvark away from being an Aesop. It’s not history, folks. I can’t believe in 2011 we’re even having that conversation. But I have yet to see the Hovinds EVER tell the truth about the opposing side, which is essentially the same as lying. If there was any actual truth to anything the Hovinds say then it would be necessary for them to misrepresent the other side to bolster their arguments.”

    Don’t be shy about the coming from the rock thing. Sure atheistic scientists believe that… it may take several questions to get them to that admission, but when pressed, they have no other option. After the early molten earth cooled down, what else was there but rocks?? Where else would you have come from? (something tells me you don’t take the “aliens” option).

    You’re right; YEC’s believe we came from dirt (dust, to be exact), however, there is one big difference in the origin… GOD, the Creator, used the dust to create man as opposed to natural processes (nothing) created man from the rocks. The Genesis account fits what we see as necessary for life today… everything fully formed and functional from the get-go, senses fully functional to assess and respond to the world around us, thousands of necessary symbiotic relationships, renewable energy sources / food sources, fully functioning and compatible mates to choose from and reproduce with (insert joke here), etc.

    I’ve tried to get the opposing side to actually state what they believe life came from, but the closest I’ve come to an answer is basically “I don’t know, but it wasn’t from God.” So, here is your chance to give your side so I don’t “lie” about it anymore… Where and what did life come from, Duane?

    The reason I brought it up was because I believe you are a rational thinker (not right, but rational, none-the-less), and I’m hoping you will see the necessity of the Intelligent Designer to bring life into existence with purpose and order. Right now, I think the only reason you don’t believe in God is because you don’t want to.

    May God Himself bless you Duane.

  23. Alex M January 31, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    Stephen,

    First I’ll address the last point as it will be easiest. I’m not a very political person, and when voting time comes, I side with a party depending on the current economic context. I’m pretty moderate, as I side with different parties on different points. I guess if you’re looking for a classification, I’d probably be liberal-moderate. Once again, politics is not really my field (nor is economics) and I feel inadequate (and honestly a little disinterested) in that realm.

    Now I completely agree with you, there are A LOT of things you can’t control. Reading over what I posted, I realize I haven’t addressed that point, so here’s my thoughts on it.

    I do believe that we can shape our future (in a zen Buddhist kind of way). I think the most important part is being positive when going through adversity (this is where I agree with most religions). I also feel that the Buddhist method of focusing your mind has wide reaching implications on how you perceive the world and events in it.

    I strongly believe that even if you have to face adversities in your life, being positive and determined will essentially break any roadblocks you encounter. This is precisely why meditation is so effective; you can use it to focus your mind towards a goal so that you achieve it regardless of the roadblocks.

    Finally, I still disagree with putting your ‘worries/fears/hopes/dreams/families/relationships’ in God’s hands as in the last paragraph of OP. I think that unless you can focus yourself on the goals you seek and the actions you need, you have to rely on luck to achieve your goals.

    And luck is a fickle lady.

  24. Duane February 1, 2011 at 1:21 am #

    Stephen Holshouser January 29th at 7:59 pm

    Duane,

    I’m not saying the sources are inspired or that they are pure as the wind-driven snow… I was just pointing out there were many secular writings that mention Jesus Christ and His followers.

    So, Josephus’ stuff was an “obvious insertion” because it just doesn’t sound like something he would say, or because you have some actual evidence for that claim?

    As a matter of fact, that is how historians work. They study the vocabulary and style of writing and compare it to a questionable bit and determine if it is genuine or nor. However, the Josephus quote falls down to even the slightest objective scrutiny. It is THAT obvious. NO reputable scholar accepts it. As to the rest, Jay has answered that question fine.

    Concerning Jesus’ title as Messiah; first, see my question posed again to you in the “even as agnostic” thread and answer if you can. Second, if you want to close your eyes, ears, and mind to the many, undeniable prophecies that Jesus fulfilled, well you are free to continue in that direction, though I wish you would reconsider instead of just trying to win a debate.

    Jesus was a human being who preached three years and was killed. End of story. Not the Messiah. Didn’t fulfill ANY Messianic goals. NONE, NADA, ZIP. He died. Anything Paul made up redefining the role of the Messiah so he could claim Jesus fulfilled them is MADE UP. Most of the rest of the concordances are confirmation bias, irrelevant or out of context correlations. I’ve looked up most of the claims, and most of the verses refer to Israel itself, not the Messiah let alone Jesus. The Gospels themselves were written to convince Gentiles and they cribbed a lot of pre-existing legends.

    “After Jesus’ appearance (in which he did not become King), the Temple was destroyed…”

    Precisely as Jesus said it would happen decades before it did! Did you know there are no recorded deaths of any Christians at Jerusalem in 70AD? Why? Because they got out, just like Jesus told them to do in Matthew 24.

    The Gospels were written after 70AD. It’s not hard to be Jeane Dixon after the fact. If I recall, persecution started around then, so they would have went into hiding regardless.

    “(Many of the wars in fact were started and fought by followers of Jesus)”

    What teaching of Jesus were they following? Specifically, chapter and verse… We’ll be waiting on your answer.

    Good question. Looks to me like they make up their own philosophies and then cherry pick the Bible to support whatever they feel like. The great book of multiple choice. Pretty much like today. We don’t get our morality from the Bible. We decide our own and then some of us cherry pick the Bible to find the stuff we agree with.

    Duane, if your standard for accepting evidence of Jesus being the Messiah was the same as your standard for accepting evidence for macro-evolution, you would be a greater Christian than all of us put together.

    Except I did. Most Atheists started out as Christians. The more I looked into it, the less sense it made. Let me remind you again. Invisible man with magic words who makes stuff out of nothing in 6 days, talking snake, rib-woman, obvious knowledge metaphor, 900 year lifespans for those condemned, not to mention the ark nonsense, etc.

    If you have to lie or misrepresent the opposing side to make your position work, then it probably isn’t valid to begin with.

    @Stephen Holshouser January 30th at 7:44 pm

    Alex M,

    “YOU are responsible for your successes.
    YOU are responsible for your failures.
    YOU are responsible for how your life goes. The moment you bring god into this, you put your life on the back burner. You suddenly make god responsible for your life. You essentially succumb to the superstitious belief that you have no control over your life and that whatever happens is “god’s will”. That’s not how it is and until you claim responsibility, you will NEVER be able to take control of your life.”

    I share your belief in personal accountability / responsibility. However, what control do you have over when and where you were born? What family you were born into? What phenotype or genotype you have? What opportunities present themselves to you? What tragedies, accidents, or illnesses that happen? What others do around you?

    We like to think we are in control, but we have NO control over most of the things that shape our lives… it’s just a fact and there’s nothing “superstitious” about it. Sure, you have some ability to control some things… but who gave you the strength to do that, who is keeping your heart beating and your mind functioning? Who is holding the universe together and your life in existence? Answer: Not you.

    The Universe is held together by gravity, the weak and strong forces and electromagnetism. It’s not Jesus holding the quarks together despite Mike A’s childish insistence. Tragedies, illnesses, accidents, opportunities, etc. are all chance. Putting a face on things you don’t understand might make you feel better or less lonely, but it is just that. At some point it is time to grow up and face reality.

    Colossians 1:16-17
    For by (Jesus Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

    The Lord has given us things we are responsible and accountable for, though, which we will all give account of at the Day of Judgment.

    One last thing; you preach a good message about personal responsibility. Politically, would you classify yourself as a liberal, progressive, socialist, or communist?

    I see what you did there. I can do it, too. What more should we expect from a Hovind follower. The man’s a bottom feeder even in the Creationist community.