August 30, 2007

good and bad fruit: as of August 30, 2007

i'm lazily copying from an email to a dear if said friend sees this, ei! word up! :D

Here are links to, er, good and bad examples of Christians :D (The reports of abuse *are* scandalous, but I hope you take note of how the authors and commenters react too...besides, "By their fruits you shall know them.")

  1. On Billy Graham (it's possible to stand firm on your beliefs and still be well-loved and respected)
  2. Barack Obama on his Christian faith and US politics
  3. Attack Dogs of Christianity (Christians attacking non-C's)
  4. Christian attacks other Christians (...and they're all pretty influential.)
  5. Let Us Prey
  6. 'Time' magazine and 'prosperity' preachers
  7. Attack Dogs of Christianity (Christians attacking non-Christians)
  8. Healing: Faith or Fake?
  9. Hypocrites, or worse? Don't judge, but do deliberate
  10. How Could God Let 9/11 Happen?
  11. South Park Christianity: Back to the Message (of course it's SP and me again! But interestingly I wrote that days/hours before I saw the other links, they echo the same thing)

August 29, 2007

South Park Christianity: Back to the Message

My brother and i were watching this South Park episode yesterday "Starvin' Marvin Goes to Space" (??) and i dramatically groaned and whined every now and then. It featured:

(1) missionaries to Africa who will not feed the children unless they read the Bible and accept Jesus as their Savior;
(2) same missionaries who impose their language upon the natives they're visiting; and
(3) Pat Robertson (of 700 Club) praying for money.

What can i say?

(1) Yes, it's happening.
(2) Yes, it's wrong.
(3) No, that's not what following Christ is all about. :)

(By the way, i love South Park; beyond the crass humor it has intelligent insight, especially in attacking hypocrisy and everything that's wrong with the world. So i actually thank Trey Parker and Matt Stone (or is it Trey Stone and Matt Parker? ;p) for bringing this to our collective attention :) )

We Christians are an imperfect bunch: that's exactly why we need a Savior (Biblical Christianity being the only faith/religion that relies not on what the person does but on what Jesus did for him or her). But this explanation does not at all justify the wrongdoings done in the name of Jesus, or God, or the Bible.

I know this is hard, but let's look beyond the messengers (see first set of three's) and back to the message itself:

(1) Jesus met and ministered to each person's needs; many times leading them to realize on their own that they've just encountered the one, true, living God. ("If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.") The prosperity gospel and other "versions" of Christianity always have this danger of focusing on the self rather than on God (saying things like, "go to God so you will be blessed!"), and conveniently forget that persecution and suffering are guaranteed in following Christ. However, it is true that God is the source of all blessing: unconditional even. Jesus talked of how everyone gets sun and rain, and how all plants and animals get food --- without the "spiritual blackmail" shown, perhaps truthfully sometimes, in that SP episode.

(2) Jesus is fully God yet He descended into the earth and "demoted" Himself to become human. He took on a human form, He worked, He got tired, got thirsty, got tempted. He imposed standards of perfection and 100% holiness ("Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect,"), yet only because He gave the simple (but NOT easy) solution:
"Nothing is impossible with God." The solution is complete dependence on Him, the God who lived as a human and the only suitable God-Human Ambassador. ("I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.")

(3) We have a lot of requests, and Jesus did guarantee that anything asked of the Father in Jesus' name will be answered. But here is the BEST prayer i have encountered, spoken by Jesus on the eve of His excruciating death: "Father, not my will, but Yours, be done."

Let's go beyond South Park, beyond the awful Christians (myself included), and back to Christ Himself. :)

August 27, 2007

what do i know?

I dedicate these next two songs to the One source of all Love and Truth :)

(the wonderful version by Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon and James Taylor here)

Don't know much about history
Don't know much biology
Don't know much about a science book
Don't know much about the French I took

But I do know that I love You
And I know that if You love me too
What a wonderful world this would be

Don't know much about geography
Don't know much trigonometry
Don't know much about algebra
Don't know what a slide rule is for

But I do know one and one is two
And if this one could be with You
What a wonderful world this would be

Now I don't claim, to be an A-student
But I'm trying to be
For maybe by being an A-student, baby
I could win Your love for me

Don't know much about the Middle Ages
Looked at the pictures and I turned the pages
Don't know nothing 'bout no rise and fall
Don't know nothing 'bout nothing at all
It's you that I've been thinking of
And if I could only win Your love
What a wonderful world this would be


by The Bee Gees

There's a light
A certain kind of light
That never shone on me
I want my life to be lived with You
Lived with You
There's a way everybody say
To do each and every little thing
But what does it bring
If I ain't got You, ain't got faith
You don't know what it's like, baby
You don't know what it's like

To love somebody
To love somebody
The way I love You

In my brain
I see your face again
I know my frame of mind
You ain't got to be so blind
And I'm blind, so, so, so very blind
I'm a man, can't You see
What I am
I live and breathe for You
But what good does it do
If I ain't got You, ain't got faith

August 23, 2007

Jesus lives in South Park :)

Isn't he --- He --- just adorable? :D even if more figuratively than literally...(especially the episode where the town chooses to honor human waste during Hanukkah/Christmas season so that nobody would get "offended" (!!!!!!), and the credits start to roll, and suddenly there's a snippet of Jesus singing "Happy Birthday to Me"...all alone...*sniff* :( ) i can't believe i'm saying this: South Park has really made me think! ;p and it's really cute how Jesus has his own hotline and tv shucks ^_^

Article (with captioned picture) from
here; three additional pictures from here and here :)


Often condemned and criticized for its off-color humor, some find South Park an unexpected source of theological insight.
By Mark I. Pinsky

Quick - where in the vast and largely sinful expanse of TV land does Jesus dwell? If you're puzzled, here's a hint: it's not on any religious channel. The correct answer is that Jesus resides in South Park, a fictional Rocky Mountain town that is the setting for the foul-mouthed Comedy Central series.

A scene from "The Passion of the Jew" episode

It is one of the most religion-fixated shows on the small screen. Jesus is not only a resident; he has appeared frequently, most famously in a boxing match with Satan, televised as a pay-per-view event. True, as host of a local, public access talk show, the Nazarene is portrayed as more of a flawed superhero than a savior. But there he is, flying around in the opening credits and taking center stage in more than a dozen episodes.

In the increasingly enmeshed worlds of religion and popular culture, Jesus and Christianity are no longer confined to such evangelical blockbusters as Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and the Left Behind series of pulp fiction novels. Sometimes the intersection of faith and entertainment is so unlikely - and unsettling - as to boggle the mind. South Park, a show that can be distasteful in the extreme but one that is especially popular with the 18-34 crew, is located at just such a crossroa
ds. The producers give fair, if absurd, warning: A disclaimer preceding each episode cautions that, due to offensive language and content, the show "should not be viewed by anyone." In fact, some episodes based on religion may be so offensive to believers that they won't be aired when the series is syndicated on commercial television this fall.

Jesus came to live in South Park almost as an afterthought, series co-creator Matt Stone, who describes himself as an "agnostic Jew," said in an interview. Originally, the town's agents of supernatural intervention were to be aliens from outer space. But the X Files had become popular, and Stone and co-creator Trey Parker did not want it to seem like their show was a satire of the live action hit. Jesus of South Park often admits that he doesn't have all the answers, and sometimes he simply declines to intervene in the world, as when the South Park Elementary School's football team is being shut out by a rival. And, like his biblical counterpart, he can be short-tempered. In a brief promotional video that led to the series, Jesus got into a swearing, kung-fu fight with Santa Claus in a mall over the true meaning of Christmas (Correct answer: Presents). His phone-in TV show is called "Jesus and Pals" - the house band is called "The Disciples" - and the host's unique abilities enable him to know callers' names before they identify themselves. When one caller asked "how the hell" he already knew his name, Jesus snaps, "Well, maybe it's because I'm the Son of God, Brainiac!"

Obviously, this portrayal sets some Christians on edge. "As Christians, when they take the character of Christ and make him into a cartoon character, and have him do and say things that are totally out of his character, that's a very flippant attitude to take toward a person millions of Americans believe to be the Son of God," said Tim Wildmon, president of the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association (AFA). His group has crusaded against South Park, taking credit for driving off advertisers Geico, Best Buy, Footlocker and Finish Line, as well as for convincing JC Penney to stop carrying the show's merchandise.

The boys' faith is shaken when they discover the priest having sex with a married woman in the confessional. But even the venal Father Maxi - who secretly bet on Satan in his fight with Jesus - has his limits. In an episode devoted entirely to the Catholic Church's pedophile scandal, he condemns his fellow priests and bishops for not repenting and renouncing their actions. He, too, carries his case to the Vatican, where his luck is no better. "You forgot what being a Catholic is all about," he told the Curia, in a televised address. "People are losing faith because they don't see how what you've turned religion into applies to them... Look, I'm proud to be a Catholic, but I'm a Catholic in the real world. It's time for you all to do that too. It's time for change." Stone says there was a good deal of anger involved in writing this episode, that everyone on the staff was appalled by the sex scandal and the church's response to it. Martin, who has not seen this particular episode, says some material in the series "is extremely hostile and I find it offensive, but that goes with the nature of satire. It's not surprising that they take pot shots at the Catholics - everyone else has."

In South Park, Jesus'
advice is occasionally categorical: "Cheating is lying and lying is wrong, no matter what the circumstance." Yet he refuses to take a stand on some thorny issues, like assisted suicide. Alone one Christmas, he sits before a cake with candles, singing, "Happy birthday to me." Jesus, who addresses God as "Dad," also has his lighter moments. While singing in a local nightclub, he twirls his halo on his finger. Perhaps because it is so over-the-top in its mocking of religion, like Monty Python's Life of Brian, South Park has largely escaped criticism from evangelicals apart from Wildmon's group.

Parker, a Python fan, is not surprised that Jesus's portrayal has not provoked a backlash from Christians. In South Park, he explained at a television critics' press conference in Pasadena in January of 1998, "Jesus is a great guy." Stone acknowledges that the two writers bring a "humanistic approach to Jesus. He's a regular guy. But he's a very good regular guy." In several episodes, Parker adds, "He's the hero and he tries to have other people follow him, so I don't know what they have to protest about."

There have been exceptions, like Louis Giovino, a spokesman for the conservative group, the New York-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Giovino told National Public Radio that South Park made Life of Brian "look like a playground." The animated series "is very vicious in its satire toward most religions." Other Catholic observers disagree. "In the midst of all this gross-out, puerile humor are flashes of insight into the religious condition," says the Rev. James Martin, associate editor and culture critic of America magazine, the national Catholic weekly. "In a way it's very subversive because it leads people through one door - humor - and leads them out another," to a serious consideration of faith and theology.

Some very serious theological points are made, often by Jesus. People in South Park are concerned that the world might end at the turn of the millennium, so they pray for revelation and assurance. "God can't answer every prayer and suddenly give you everything you want," Jesus explains to the waiting, restive crowd. "That takes all the living out of life... If God answered all our prayers there'd be nothing left for us to do ourselves. Life is about problems and overcoming those problems and growing and learning from obstacles. If God just fixed everything for us there'd be no point in our existence... Yea! Believe in me and ye shall find peace." Alas, that is not what the crowd has come to hear. "We've heard that crap for about 2000 years now!" a character shouts. "We wanna hear something new."

Apparently, everyone in South Park who isn't Jewish is Catholic, since they all attend one unnamed church, led by a priest, Father Maxi (possibly a play on Maxi Priest, the Reggae singer), with the assistance of a nun, Sister Ann, whose order is called The Bleeding Eyes of Jesus. Maxi is a narrow-minded theologian - denouncing Halloween and preaching eternal damnation to a boy with cerebral palsy who is unable to confess his sins, as well to anyone who does not accept Jesus and profess Christian faith through Catholic doctrine. "The Jews crucified our savior!" he says. "I mean, if you don't go to hell for crucifying the savior, then what the hell do you go to hell for?" Sister Ann disagrees, at least with regard to the Jews, and phones the pope for support - without success.

In another episode, a Mormon family moves to South Park and their young son, Gary, wants to be friends with Stan. What unfolds is a remarkable portrait of the history and modern practice of Mormonism, scrupulously balanced between respect and ridicule, concluding with a clear-eyed plea for tolerance from the boy, who is rejected and persecuted by the other kids. "Maybe us Mormons do believe in crazy stories that make absolutely no sense," and that may have been made up by Joseph Smith, Gary says. "But I have a great life and a great family and I have the Book of Mormon to thank for that." The faith's history and theology are irrelevant, he says, and he doesn't care.
"What the church teaches now is loving your family, being nice and helping people."

Pentecostals and evangelicals also take so
me lumps in the show. Cynically, Eric decides to form a Christian rock group, called "Sanctified," just to cash in on a trend: "All we have to do is sing songs about how much we love Jesus, and all the Christians will buy our crap." Pat Robertson and his 700 Club, and sanctimonious missionaries in Africa are ripped to shreds in another episode. Eric claims to be a faith healer and forms a congregation that draws everyone away from the church, until he is exposed as a fraud.

In August of 2004, South Park released a DVD featuring three recent episodes dealing with faith, including their satire of The Passion of the Christ, mischievously timed to coincide with the release of the DVD release of Mel Gibson's blockbuster. An accompanying press release boasted that South Park "is one of the few shows to explore different religious themes in an intelligent and boldly irreverent way." Talk about understatement. The Passion episode, which aired while the film was still in theaters, was irresistible to the movie's critics. "Combining pop culture with that religious religiosity, there's great comedy there," Stone told the Los Angeles Times. Much of the episode, called The Passion of the Jew, deals with the film's impact, stoking Eric's anti-Semitism and Kyle's guilt as a Jew - as well as portraying Gibson as certifiably insane. However, its conclusion is anything but absurd. While many Christians found great meaning in the film's focus on Jesus' suffering and death, some liberal Christian scholars like John Dominic Crossan echoed South Park's take. Stan says: "If you want to be Christian, that's cool, but you should follow what Jesus taught instead of how he got killed. Focusing on how he got killed is what people did in the Dark Ages, and it ends up with really bad results." People in the crowd agree. "We shouldn't focus our faith on the torture and execution of Christ," says one. "We shouldn't rely on violence to inspire faith," another agrees.

In the end, the South Park gospel is simple, the watered-down antithesis of evangelical Protestant belief in salvation through grace, rather than through works: Be a good person, be nice to others and don't worry too much about the hereafter. Or, as Stan's dad Randy concluded in one episode, "The only heaven we can hope for is one here on earth, now. We should stop waiting to get into heaven, and start trying to create it." Jesus' version: "God doesn't want you to spend all of your time being afraid of hell or praising his name. God wants you to spend your time helping others and living a good, happy life. That's how you live for him."

That's good morality, if debatable theology.

free to study!

yes, free Bible study material...

(1) from
just go through the online shopping process
but with cost of zero dollars :p then you may download :)

(2) from
(i attend Victory Christian Fellowship
aka Every Nation Ministries)

you will be asked to register your name and username then you can download a LOT of previous preachings (as i understand, they're synchronized throughout the Philippines. hey i can catch up on what i missed when i was in China!)

not just a pop song, 14: You got it all

You Got It All
by The Jets

I, I was a game he would play
He brought the clouds to my day
Then like a ray of light
You came my way one night
Just one look and I knew
You would make everything clear
Make all the clouds disappear
Put all Your fears to rest
Who do I love the best?
Don't You know, don't You know

You got it all over him
You got me over him
Honey it's true

There's just You

You must have been heaven sent

Hearing me call You went

Out on a limb

And You're all that he's not

Just look what I got

Cause You got it all

Over him

No, don't let him worry You so

Once I met You I let go

Oh You can surely see

You're so much more to me

Just one look and I knew

You would make everything clear

Make all the clouds disappear

You're better than all the rest

Who do I love the best

Don't You know, don't You know

You got it all over him

You got me over him

Honey it's true

There's just You

You must have been heaven sent

Hearing me call You went

Out on a limb

And You're all that he's not

Just look what I got

Cause You got it all

All over him

(You got it all over him, You got me over him)

Honey it's true there's just You

You must have been heaven sent

Hearing me call You went

Out on a limb

And You're all that he's not

Just look what I got

Cause You got it all

All over him

beyond being Christian...

beyond being Christian, are we following Christ?

see this funny but thought-provoking set of clips based on the "Mac vs. PC" ads (the ads themselves were brought to life by my American classmates who did look the part...)

(not counting the first link to the "bundle", the six clips can be previewed for free :) )

it's not so much me waiting for God... God waiting for me.


No, really. :)

It's not God who:

  • has issues;
  • can't handle the blessings (and obstacles) coming her least sometimes;
  • is not ready for many things;
  • needs help.
At least i do get help. :D

August 21, 2007

the Richard Dawkins delusion

This article is taken from here.:) My email to Mr. Baxendale and his reply can be found at the end of this blog entry. :)

by Toby Baxendale

Since the 2006 publication, by Bantam Press, of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion many commentators have critiqued it, largely for being an evangelical atheistic attack on religiosity and the mystical mind: The problem, for most commentators, seems to be the evan
gelical nature of Dawkins’s attack itself rather than the content of his argument. Indeed, I see more attacks on his style than I do on his argument.

My contention is that Dawkins makes a categorical error in trying to apply the scientific method of the natural sciences to disprove an entirely logical phenomenon. In terms of logic I shall now attempt to disprove his theses, and to demonstrate that God does indeed exist.

Dawkins is a natural scientist. His method of reasoning is firmly rooted in 20th century scientific positivism. Prior to Karl Popper’s Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959), it was assumed that a scientific proposition could only be maintained if it accorded to established fact. Popper pointed out that no theory could be maintained if it is refuted by some data of experience. Popper was contrasting say a mathematical proof, which is entirely in the mind (such as 2 + 2 = 4) which needs no empirical testing to prove it, with for example the fact that water will boil at a certain temperature, which needs to be empirically expressed before one believes it. The next step in the process is to declare a theory "un-scientific" if
it cannot be refuted by experience. This is reasoning a posteriori dependant on experience. In applying scientific method to the question "does God exist," the answer from Dawkins is a resounding NO!

If these are the rules of the game, then we can only but agree with him. Only the data of experience will now prove to Dawkins that God exists. As we have none that seems credible, it is a matter of Faith. Faith v Science, for the Modern Mind, places most reasoning people in the camp of Science. The un-reasoning mind is therefore deemed to be the religious and mystical mind and somewhat prejudiced and backward and or primitive. Dawkins, in the name of science and what he understands as reason, proceeds to demolish some of the more wildly mystical and witch doctor interpretations and commands of religion with some aplomb. Fair play to the man for sure as they deserve to be savagely attacked by an acute mind such as his.

However, as man can introspect as say a chemical or a stone, a gene or any subject of the natural science can not, we have open to us another method of acquiring knowledge, that is via reason independent of experience i.e. knowledge derived a-priori. It should also b
e noted at this point, that for a thoughtful introspecting human, being capable of making abstract deductions, experience is history and nothing else. It cannot tell us anything but past history, past data series. It can yield up no irrefutable truth, just very good associations, correlations etc. In fact as Dawkins points out, Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is very highly probable to be true, but it has the possibility of being refuted by other experience. As such Darwinian Theory is scientific, but we cannot say for sure, for 100% certainly, that it is true. Whilst Evolution has mounds of scientific data to support it, lots of experience, lots of history, God does not. As Dawkins admits, this does not kill God off stone dead; it just makes God very, very highly improbable whereas something like Evolution, very, very highly probable. I would disagree with Dawkins on this point, God as a scientific proposition is not a conjecture that is capable of being refuted: God is not open to proving or disapproving via experience.

Indeed we have open to us introspecting beings the beauty of knowledge acquired a-priori.
Subjects of the natural scientist are denied this; the subject of the Human science is not. God exists via the realm of the a-priori, independent of experience, and can never exist in the realm of the a posteriori; by the data of experience or history.

What is a-priori correct reasoning? How do you correctly reason?

Aristotle worked out that there were three Laws of Logic the formal explanation is as follows:

1. A=A: The Law of Identity. A table is a table because it just is so.

2. Not (A and not A): The Law of Non-Contradiction, if I am being boring, then it is not the case that this talk is not boring

3. A or not A: The Law of the Excluded Middle, if you have two contradictory properties i.e. green and not green, all things are either one of the two, green or not green, and certainly not both.

Any argument that contradicts the above needs to be discarded.

A great example of how you can use logic to reason correctly is in maths. For example, we all know that if 2 x X = 20, X must be 10; if you tried to argue it any other way, you would conflict with the Laws of Logic. However, any which way you turn around the equation, with a logical argument, will always lead to a truthful answer, as the premise is correct.

This is very powerful because we can establish truthful propositions in logic that can only be refuted should their premise or the deductions from them fall foul of one of Aristotle’s a-priori laws of logic. Not only are the truths of mathematics rooted on the a-priori, so are the truths of the human sciences. For example; the Austrian polymath Ludwig Von Mises shows in his masterful book Human Action (1949) how all the laws of economics can be deduced
from the axiom that humans act purposefully. As Mises shows, in order to be, we act purposefully. Not being, we would not act, indeed we would not exist. We act upon satisfying our most urgent needs first, then our second most urgent needs, and so on a so forth. Ranking preferences, with the most urgent needs/demands being satisfied first, the least urgent, the furthest away in time. From this hierarchy we derive the law of demand, the downward sloping demand curve, the law of diminishing marginal utility (see here for a good illustration) and on and on it goes. Lord Lionel Robbins in the masterful 1932 book, The Nature and Significance of Economic Science shows in very clear terms how all the laws of Economics are derived from the a-priori thought process. No data of experience is needed to establish that a demand curve is always downward sloping. This has real meaning in life and imparts upon how man acts in society. Experience cannot refute these laws although many modern economists will produce sets of statistical data that seem to contradict some of the Laws of Economics, but in reality, they have just got whatever they are trying to correlate wrong. A-priori knowledge contains real truths that are not just meaningless tautologies.

To try to refute it, you cannot, as you act purposefully to do so. Just as Pythagoras’s Theorem is implied in the concept of a right angle triangle-and we knew about the concept of the right angle triangle before Pythagoras "discovered" his Theorem, so, to do the laws of economics flow from the one irrefutable axiom that humans act purposefully. It is a bit like saying Darwin "discovered" the Theory of Evolution, when what he actually did was articulate it and find very plausible data sets to help explain it to the sceptical mind. Evolution was always there.

For all positivist science, it seems to rely on the very negative contention that the existing state of understanding is correct only because nothing has refuted it. This does not mean that what the laws that science rest on may well be truthful, full stop and unqualified. If Euclidian geometry is tautological, as a positivist would argue, it can tell us nothing useful about the world we experience. For example, in engineering, the laws of Euclidian Geometry applied to construction. The fact that you would not want to knowingly walk on a bridge not
constructed within the confines of the laws of Euclidian geometry, as it would fall down, implies that these laws have a great benefit to our understanding of the world and are not mere tautological propositions that can deliver up no knowledge capable of being acted upon. Likewise, the Laws that govern how this paper has been written on a computer, or transmitted via the internet to someone-else will not be capable of disproving and are therefore un-scientific, they are right otherwise this would never be written and transmitted.

My contention is that God exists a-priori and that Dawkins in his dismissal of the cosmological argument of Aquinas in particular, shows his lack of understanding of that argument and the distinction between a-priori and a-posteriori knowledge.

Dawkins summarizes (page 77) three of the "five proofs" of Aquinas as "all involve an infinite regress – the answer to a question raises a prior question, and so on ad infinitum." In his own words, he proceeds to list the three as follows;

1. The Unmoved Mover. Nothing moves without a prior mover. This leads to a regress, from which the only escape is God. Something had to make the first move, and that something we call God.
2. The Uncaused Cause. Nothing is caused by itself. Every effect has a prior cause, and again we are pushed back into regress. This has to be terminated by a first cause, which we call God.
3. The Cosmological Argument. There must have been a time when no physical thing existed. But, since physical things exist now, there must have been something non-physical to bring them into existence, and that something we call God.

He continues: "All three of these arguments rely upon the idea of a regress and invoke God to terminate it. They make the entirely unwarranted assumption that God himself is immune
to the regress. Even if we allow the dubious luxury of arbitrarily conjuring up a terminator to an infinite regress and giving it a name, simply because we need one, there is absolutely no reason to endow that terminator with any of the properties normally ascribed to God."

So to Dawkins, it is an "unwarranted assumption that God himself is immune to the regress." He does not say why. Why, Richard, is it unwarranted? If it is so self-evident (and needs no further explanation to his readers) that this is unwarranted, why is it not stated? I suspect it is because Dawkins does not know.

In the physical universe no physical property is infinite. If this was the case, only it would exist. It does not, as you and certainly I exists along with countless other physical things. So how did we come into existence?

The Unmoved Mover of Aristotle (introduced to us specifically in his Metaphysics Book VI, X1, XII and in Physics, Book VII and VIII) comes into play here. The human mind cannot conceive of anything physical without postulating another physical cause for that thing. Cause and effect are a category of the human mind: absent it, and you have no human mind. All material things have cause and effect; one physical thing bounds another physical thing with nothing being infinite. If nothing is infinite, there simply must be a first cause. Therefore logic clearly dictates that the first cause, if it cannot be physical or material, must be immaterial. We call this God.

Unless you are prepared to boot out Logic as a valid system for ascertaining truth, then you cannot escape the undeniable existence of God.

Perhaps Anthony Flew, whom Dawkins questioned in his book, realised this line of logic when he converted to a belief in a Deity.

An article Dawkins sites in The God Delusion says the following (from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 25, Number 2):

Flew's Flawed Science

by Victor J. Stenger

"Fortunately, we can avoid an infinite regress. We can just stop at the world. There is no reason why the physical universe cannot be it’s own first cause. As we know from both everyday experience and sophisticated scientific observations, complex systems develop from simpler systems all the time in nature – with not even low intelligence required. A mist of water vapor can freeze into a snowflake. Winds can carve out great cathedrals in rock. Brontosaurs can evolve from bacteria.

And our relatively complex universe could have arisen out of the entity that is the simplest and most mindless of all – the void."

I cannot see how Stenger avoids an infinite regress. The void then becomes the causeless cause, the prime mover or indeed God. Out of the causeless void comes the universe. I cannot throw out the category of my mind that only allows me to understand, or see the world in terms of cause and effect. Like Aristotle, I cannot throw out or suspend logic on this point. I may have reasoned illogically but am certainly unaware of the error. I may have misread Aristotle, but again, cannot see why.

In The Ancestor’s Tale by Dawkins (page 467–468), he says, "Heredity began as a lucky
initiation of an autocatalytic, or otherwise self-regenerating, process. It immediately took off and spread like a fire, eventually leading to natural selection – and all that was to follow."

So for Dawkins, the initial replicator that kicks it all off is self-causing. I postulate, like Aristotle, that this line of reasoning does not conform to the laws of logic and must therefore be discarded. God (immaterial and unmovable) is the initial cause. What its purpose is is indeed another argument. Applying the method of the physical sciences will not answer the question "is God a delusion?" Only logic will answer that and it is purely a cognitive process of logical deduction.

The science of Dawkins is truly wonderful to read. He is a great teacher who unravels some of the beautiful mysteries of the world. For that I thank him. On God, I would advise him to
look at the logic of Aristotle and try to refute it.

January 9, 2007

Toby Baxendale [send him mail] is a Food Entrepreneur based in the UK. The company he founded and is CEO of, Seafood Holdings Ltd, is the 2nd largest supplier of fresh fish to the independent sector in the UK. He has also established and funded the 1st Distinguished Hayek Visiting Teaching Fellowship Program at the LSE in Honour of the Nobel Laureate F A Hayek.

Copyright © 2007



Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thanks for bringing logical answers to Dawkins' arguments and not the usual eye-for-an-aye personal attacks. The inconsistencies of atheism must be exposed using science and philosophy and other such fields that, ironically, support it only because they don't look hard enough when it comes to their pet beliefs.

More power and God bless!


Toby Baxendale:

A pleasure.

It never ceases to amaze me how unintelligent, insulting, unchallenging and downright rude people get on the web and blogs in particular. This is even to articles which genuinely seek to find out and clarify areas of knowledge.

I sit as a magistrate on the Central Hertfordshire Bench in the UK and the best lawyers are always the ones who just put their arguments forth in a factual and dispassionate way. The worst are those who get consumed with emotion, their points always get lost.

All the best.

hell for a booboo?

very long might get something from here :) this is found in the forum section of A Christian and an Atheist. Enjoy! :)

Hi Poemind, Spongebob and everybody :) Thanks for the welcome :)

First off, i think i have to introduce myself: i'm a student getting my doctorate in physics and i'm also an aspiring writer (as you might have noticed!). i was literally born into a Catholic culture but unfortunately i have encountered more of the traditions and activities that i can do to be saved, instead of hearing those parts in the Bible that say only Jesus (the Jesus already ingrained in our consciousness!) can save me. Hence i began to have doubts about God at the same time that i started looking into the sciences in high school. i embraced the term "agnostic" which seemed so appropriate; even now, because i believe now that i have "seen".

To Poemind, i'm sincerely sorry for any feeling of outrage, offense or anything that i might have caused :( i truly did not mean to.

i'm not claiming i know my future, much less anyone else's. Especially since i *do* know how you feel; i HATE the whole "well *i'm* going to heaven and you're not" air too. (It's bad enough in kindergarten when some kids didn't want to play with me, what more when applied to discussions of the eternal soul? That's always awful.)

Although even my parents sometimes feel that way, please believe that i don't do the holier-than-thou route: i've always lived my life going my own way and i only turned to God when i had no other choice. (How's that for virtuous? :) ) But here's the thing: the Bible, and what He tells me personally (which for the sake of argument, can also just be delusions on my part) *always* turn out to be right. That's why i mentioned the Emerson quote: i learned the hard way that i don't know everything, and there's Someone who until now turns out to have the answers...answers that are not only "right" but "good" too.

Maybe some of you reading this might know of when many of Jesus' disciples left because they can't take his hard teachings (yup, "right" and "good" but really hard to follow! i think the atheists and Christians would agree at least on that! :) ). Jesus asked the twelve if they wanted to leave too; Peter replied, "Lord, where else can we go? You have the words of eternal life." One of my favorite psalms also say: "Taste and see that the Lord is good." Embarrassing as it might be to admit to turning to God only when i really had to, since then i've tasted and i've seen for myself. Now i can say that there is nowhere else i can go. (And as a former agnostic, i've believed because i *have* seen. :) )

Your father's statement and/or implications *do* seem unfair though; that each man will be judged by the light they have received if they had no say in how much light they received in the first place...i can't easily ask your father to clarify on that but...

Right now all i can think of is Jesus' parable about the talents (the Matthew effect in economics): "For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him." But note that even if the servants were given unequal amounts, they had complete freedom in how to use them, and in the end they were judged according to how the talents entrusted to them grew. To balance this out, the Bible constantly warns too that "to the one whom much is given, much is expected." Surely, whether we say we believe in creation or evolution, we cannot choose "what we have been given in life" (our body, talents, financial status, relatives...) but we do have the power/choice/freedom in the decisions we make, which are usually based on these "initial conditions".

Gandhi and Buddha are often used as examples in this kind of discussion aren't they? :) And i always cringe...and take the seemingly cowardly act of talking about my own life instead. :) Well, the Bible does say that it is never our (humans') place to judge. :) But i also just point to myself to show how *hard* it is to rely on my self instead of on the Biblical God; i personally don't know if Gandhi had it easy. (i have heard though, that Gandhi said that he had no problems with Christ, only with Christians; and like many of us he questioned the "hypocrisy, malpractices and dogma in all religions [Wikipedia]".)

But speaking of whether Gandhi is in hell or not, i have heard some scholars say that the biblical fire and brimstone is just a metaphor for *any place* where God is not present. i'm not too sure about drawing the line between metaphor and reality (because in the same vein others say that Jesus is not God, or not resurrected and so on), but i can definitely relate with the absence of God even before any physical death. Like i said before, there was a time when i stuck by a particular decision against all urgings of conscience until my conscience did not bother me anymore. i did not listen to God so He did not speak anymore (as the secular 'conscience')...But i'm a weird person; i only realize the absence of something when it finally returns :) such that it was only later on, when i became a full-fledged Christian learning how to communicate with God, did it sink in: i was previously spiritually very dead and i did not know it. i was already in hell, even without fire and brimstone.

(Elaboration 1) When i turned away from God, it started as just really wanting to do something that i knew was wrong, which led me to question the authority of God, and eventually His existence. But God didn't really leave, He just did not make His presence felt. That's because there were rare times when i suddenly get to think, "This is all i ever wanted, how come i've never felt so miserable?". And during my lowest point when i felt my world crumbling, i had a deep sense that "everything is going to be ok". i can confidently say that it was God who gave me flashes of insight and comfort even when i turned away from Him; even though the ideas were in my head, i definitely could not have thought them because (a) otherwise i wouldn't have gotten to the point where i was so depressed, and (b) i certainly did not have any answer to the question i heard, nor did i have an explanation to the statement i heard.

(Elaboration 2) A warning to all of us: i turned away from God a few years after i first prayed the "salvation prayer" to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, and a few months after i prayed that i would get to know and love God before meeting my husband. (You could guess my age right now, huh!) At that time one decision logically made sense and flowed into another; but now i look back and say "What was i thinking?" (i hope nobody takes offense here, i think we could all relate in some other context outside faith...) Anyway i'd like to mention this: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

To sum up, i don't know the future, but i trust God who revealed Himself through the Bible and that still small voice. i *am* an agnostic who encountered evidence for belief in my own life, in the short time that i have been a Christian (dear skeptics, you might be glad to know that when i started attending services i mentally had one foot still on "dry land", or one eye still opened, or some such thing). Hence, when the Bible makes statements about the afterlife and eternal destiny, i choose to believe because (i) i myself have no idea, and (ii) no other person/philosophy has proven itself credible. i am concerned for everyone else who has not accepted Christ, not because i'm-right-and-you're-wrong, but because i have already experienced the absence of God for a short period of time and i now realize it to be hell, a fate i do not wish upon anyone. But since i myself realized the depth of "hell" only when i encountered "heaven" wherever God is's like asking people to eat this brand of ice cream instead, and they'll know why after they try it for themselves.

Taste and see that the LORD is good...just...great...true. For those here who have never been Christians, why not try reading or asking around, just on the off chance that you might learn something :) For those who are formerly Christian, i was once like you :) i hope the non-Christians here would keep an open mind, that --- like Poemind said --- you be agnostic of being agnostic :), and if you're atheist, that there is even a small possibility that there is a God (perhaps not the God of organized religion? Or maybe there's a little truth to what they're saying?). In any case, i cannot make the decision for you; i just really really hope that you "taste" for yourself because it's really for your own benefit anyway. :)

Great day and God bless! :)

in love at war :)

this came from here :)

My plot [to overthrow] society as we know it

by James N. Watkins

"Enemy territory—that is what this world is . . . the rightful king . . . is calling us to take our part in the great campaign of sabotage." C. S. Lewis

Yes, I'm plotting to overthrow society as we know it. But don't worry. I'm not making any pipe bombs or stock-piling automatic weapons in some fortifed compound."
And it's not even a new or novel plan. It's based on the writings of another radical who wrote "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world . . . " 1 And what pattern was St. Paul rebelling against? None other than the oppressive Roman government that had occupied the Holy Land, crucified Jesus Christ, and fed Christians to the lions. And what was his plan?
Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Although Jesus and Paul lived under the oppressive Roman occupation of Israel, neither one of them spoke out against it. (Jesus tells His followers: " Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." 3
Both lived in a culture where slavery was common place, but neither did they call for the end to this practice. And while homosexual behavior was rampant in Roman culture, we don't have any record of Jesus addressing this issue.
Instead, Jesus emphasizes each person's own attitudes and behaviors.

    Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.5
Jesus did teach that evil would eventually be punished but for now, it appears that Jesus is more concerned that His followers: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."6
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.7
Jesus and Paul are not saying that Chrsitians should passively put up with evil. But both point out it is the way that evil is overcome that is at issue.
Overcoming evil doesn't involve boycotts, sit-ins, and violent confrontation. As I mentioned, it a much more subversive tactic.

    "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse."8 "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.'"9
For instance, Norma McCovey is the "Jane Roe" in the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Everyday she walked past Operation Rescue's headquarters on the way to her job at an abortion clinic. She had learned to ignore the picket signs, the sit-ins, and the shouts of "Baby Killer!" But at this rescue office, volunteers would smile and tell her to have a good day. They told her they loved her.
McCovey could resist the anger and accusations. She couldn't resist love. She became a Christian and an anti-abortion crusader. At a Senate hearing McCover said, "I am dedicated to spending the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name."
In another subversive strategy, pro-life supporters began setting up Crisis Pregnancy Centers which provided compassionate care for pregnant women by providing maternity clothes and baby supplies. Crisis Pregnancy Centers now outnumber abortion providers and the abortion rate is declining.
While the picketers, boycotters, and abortion clinic bombers are, as a whole, very sincere, they are sincerely missing the strategy that Jesus and Paul proposed. And the strategy worked then, too! Within three hundred years, the Roman empire had collapsed and Christianity was declared the official religion. (Notice that this strategy is slow, but it is effective.)
Instead of rioting against the cruel conditions in England during the 1700's, John Wesley and his "Methodists" set up free clinics, opened the first employees credit union, and revolutionized the country. And did it without the bloodshed of the American and French revolutions!
Instead of complaining about Hollywood movies, a group of believers has established Act One: Writing for Hollywood conferences to raise up Christians in the industry.
Prison Fellowship, rather than complaining about crime, has developed a Neighbors Who Care program. They've also have become active in justice issues. But most important, thousands of volunteers are taking the Christian message into prisons and discipling converted convicts.
Other organizations such as Christians for Biblical Equality and Youth For Christ are providing practical programs to overcome evil with good.
And, rather than complaining about X-rated Internet sites, I've set up an "adult site for adults" at
The whole point of overcoming evil with good is to provide a positive, godly alternative to the evil.
1. Romans 12:2
2. Romans 12:9b
3. Matthew 22:21
4. Matthew 7:1-5
5. Matthew 13:49-50
6. Matthew 22:37-40
7. Romans 12:21
8. Romans 12:14
9. Romans 12:17-20

Copyright © 2000 James N. Watkins. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission from :)

passenger seat :)

"I've made up my mind that I'll take the rest of my life as a journey with God, and as long as between the two of us, one has a map, I'll just enjoy the ride for what it is."
--- from comment found in

August 20, 2007

everything we need...NOT blessings

Taken from here :)

St. Peter and the TV Evangelist
by James N. Watkins
[Below is one of my favorite sketches from Characters, a book of comedy/drama sketches based on biblical characters.]

Here's what might happen is a "health and wealth" TV evangelist met one of the original disciples who had "no silver or gold."

Stage setting
The set of a TV evangelist's program. Can be anything from a bare stage to TBN's set.

BROTHER BOB BLESSING dressed in fashionable suit
ST. PETER dressed in a shabby First Century robe

Brother Bob: Ain't God great! Hi, friend, I'm Brother Bob Blessing here with another exciting special: "Something Lucrative is Going to Happen to You!" Behind me is the beautiful billion-dollar "Ain't God Great Center"--home of our satellite TV station, the "Ain't God Great Radio Network," our seven-thousand-seat auditorium and fitness center, and of course our "Springs of Blessings" water slide. From here we proclaim the good news the world is waiting to hear: "Jesus wants you healthy and wealthy." We'll be telling how you can be blessed by sharing in this exciting ministry in just a moment. But first friend, let me introduce today's co-host. He's assertive. He's positive. He's one of Christ's own disciples. Here he is, your favorite disciple and mine . . . Saint Peter!
[Saint Peter enters, appearing overwhelmed by the sets, lights and cameras.]
Brother Bob: Welcome to our "Something Lucrative is Going to Happen to You" special, Saint Peter.
Peter: You can just call me Peter.
Brother Bob: Well, what an honor to meet one so positive and assertive, and of course, healthy and wealthy.
Peter: Well, actually I've got this really bad cold I picked up in prison and I'm afraid I don't have any silver or gold.
Brother Bob: [talking to off-stage]: Keep the tape rolling, Nick, but make a note to edit that out in production. You see, Peter, I'm Brother Bob Blessing--the world's most positive thinker. Jesus wants us healthy and wealthy. We're King's kids. Ah, let's try another approach. Take two. Five. Four. Three. Two. [silently count "one"] Peter, you were one of Christ's closest friends. What positive and powerful message stands out above all the others.
Peter: I guess the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus started out by saying, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of . . .
Brother Bob: Cut! Peter, you don't seem to understand that this is a positive show. God doesn't want us living below our privileges. He loves you and has a wonderful Porche for your life. [Talking to off-stage] Roll the tape, Nick. Take three. Five. Four. Three. Two. [pause] One of Christ's messages that stands out to Saint Peter is the Sermon on the Mount.
Peter: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Brother Bob: Cut! What do you mean "mourn." If you think on positive things, if you really believe that something lucrative is going to happen to you, then life can be continuously happy.
Peter: But I get beat up everywhere I go sharing the Gospel. And my close friend, James, was beheaded. And worse than that, there are people dying this moment and going into eternity without Christ.
Brother Bob: Just don't think about it, friend. Fill your mind with positive thoughts. [To off-stage] Keep the tape rolling, Nick. We may be able to salvage some of this. [To Peter] Please, say something positive.
Peter: Well, I'm basically a "go for it," assertive and confident sort of guy . . .
Brother Bob: Praise God! Yes, friends, it's those who assert themselves and name it and claim it that the Lord blesses.
Peter: . . . but I've learned that only the meek will inherit the earth.
Brother Bob: [To off-stage] Make a note to edit that out. Take four. Five. Four. Three. Two. [pause] [To Peter] Is there ANYTHING positive you remember Christ saying?
Peter: Oh, sure. Most of it.
Brother Bob: Finally! Peter remembers Christ as someone who thought positively, lived positively, and was positively successful! Can you share some of those thoughts, Peter?
Peter: Sure, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
Brother Bob: Praise the Lord! Thank you Jesus! Yes, Jesus want to fill our lives to overflowing!
Peter: "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."
Brother Bob: Preach it, friend!
Peter: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
Brother Bob: Hallelujah!
Peter: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
Brother Bob: Gaa-lory! Yes, friends, God wants you to be His son or daughter and experience all His riches. Just dial 1-800-BLESSED and . . .
Peter: "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of . . .
Brother Bob: CUT!
Peter: "Blessed are you when people insult you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you . . . .
Brother Bob: Okay, that's enough! Are the mikes off? Look, Peter, it's been great being with you, but--nothing personal--you're not the kind of guest this special needs.
[Peter walks off shaking his head.]
Brother Bob: [To off-stage]: Nick, see if you can get me the disciple who wrote "God's divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness." [pause as if Nick answers Brother Bob] That WAS him?!
[Brother Bob walks off shaking his head.]

Copyright © 1982 James N. Watkins. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission from