November 26, 2007

Jesuit Volunteers Philippines: Application Deadline Nov30

aww :)

i was supposed to sign up for this too three years ago, if it weren't for the timing :)

Sign up for the Jesuit Volunteers Philippines now! Application is until November 30, 2007. :)

November 22, 2007

to all the posters at Dawkins' forum :)

Recently i posted an article disproving atheism, featuring its current spokesperson, Professor Richard Dawkins.

i mentioned that i forwarded it to a forum over at Dawkins' homepage. (i failed to mention that i also forwarded it to his own provided email address.)

Anyways, i started a new thread and asked people to comment: the same thing that i ask of people over here in this blog, at another forum, and through email. But expecting the very strong reactions that i might get, and knowing how i would possibly react, i chose not to go back there immediately. (Plus, yesterday was Research Day! i'm really not allowed to do anything else :) )

After less than three days, i go back to the forum where i posted and it was locked. No more discussion permitted.


The moderator, "Sciwoman", says (boldface mine):

Since it appears that the OP [original poster] is not going to return...

On the off-chance the OP returns and wishes to engage in discussion...

On what grounds does it appear to be so? Because it took some days for me to come back...

Sorry if it seems that way; but
it took some time for me to reply to my own blog even.

Wasn't this what i said in the original post? i hope you can check it out and give me your thoughts

And by off-chance, perhaps she is thinking of the many other non-atheists who post there and then leave immediately without a trace. Well, that's not me; but i can sympathize with feeling that they were left hanging. (Imagine: expressing one's deep personal beliefs and values in reaction to a supposed listener who wasn't there at all, or who made an appearance once but didn't return again.)

Previously she wrote:

Let's just say, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Teci to come back. Call it the voice of experience.

i'm sorry but the voice of experience is wrong. i'm here and i'm back.


When i first read Sciwoman's posts i thought that it was pretty ironic that her statements had unscientific phrases: "it appears", "off-chance", "experience". But then, i realized that this probably was all she experienced: at least from the people she has been moderating over at that certain forum. i am.

I have every intention of returning to the forum; it was my intention not only to start the discussion but to help get it rolling.

i am not like the others :)

i am truly sorry for giving you and everyone the impression that i only was out to pull a prank: tiptoeing over to your side then run hurriedly far far away, according to another guy in the forum.

No. i'm here for the long run :)

i'm here...

  1. because i care for you guys,
  2. because i doubted and disbelieved in the past as well,
  3. because i know how you feel and how you think,
  4. because (forgive me for saying this) i know the Truth,
  5. because i hope that you can know the Truth as well.
Truth that is also good and fills you with hope. (Not to be confused with the false hopes and of false teachings :) )

Sciwoman: your reactions to my coming back to the forum echo how unbelievers feel about God:

  • "God does not appear to be true..."
  • "Experience tells me that God is not true..."
And so on.

But i am glad for one little word, the word that initially made me feel slighted.

"On the off-chance that God is true..."

That's exactly why i'm here :) To say that improbable does NOT automatically mean impossible; that to encounter does NOT automatically mean to see.

The fact that i do wish to return to the forum shows that there are some truths that we do not expect --- yet aren't we glad they are true. :)

(Well, sometimes we're glad!...)

i still do not understand why some threads have to be locked. Wouldn't it be better to let everyone have their say, regardless of whether the original poster comes back, and regardless of time or posting frequency? (That's also what i show at the last part of "Are You There...": just because i did not see Dawkins when i demanded his immediate presence, does not prove he's not true.)

Christians would say that "God's will is different from ours," and understandably, unbelievers would say that's foolish and/or safe reasoning. But how different is that from someone being too busy with research (my adviser knows that my blog is more fruitful than my simulations!), or people prioritizing different things, or one person seeing the short-term while one sees the bigger picture? How hard is it for us to see someone else's point of view?

We can agree that truth is universal (else it wouldn't be true), but there are different perspectives (NOT different truths!). So i cannot immediately see another person's reasons, desires, will...i cannot see her very self until she chooses to, maybe, blog about it. Or explain why she doesn't blog or post or comment as often as we would like her to.

So, here i am, explaining. And i am explaining what God Himself has revealed through the Bible, through the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart...

Unbelievers: i hope you continue reading :) i know this is where it gets pretty silly, right? But imagine you're on the bus sitting beside someone talking on the phone, laughing even. It's quite possible that your seatmate is just pretending to have a friend (because she doesn't have any). Or maybe she is talking to someone on the other end of the line. You can't prove either way, but you can't disprove either. But in the meanwhile she's saying her friend just gave her a great idea for a blog entry. :)

Unbelievers: PLEASE stay. i promise not to be vicious, and if i am, remind me of this promise :) i just want to talk to you. i hope you give me a chance, once again. :)

Sciwoman: i am a sciwoman just like you :) Here's to off-chances that just might be worth taking. :)

November 20, 2007

*Evolutionists* saying there is *NO* evidence for evolution

i just scanned over the scientific-sounding terms on this page and thought it would be great to link to here:
Special thanks to Gmail (yeah!) because their system says: "Oh dear, there she goes again, better put up an evolution-versus-creation related ad..."  ;p
But i've already been to years back. It's a really good site (what a vague compliment! Just see for yourself guys :) )
Atheists, evolutionists, creationists, Christians, and people within and beyond those boundaries: let's all say this again one more time:
"The truth shall prevail."

November 19, 2007

Are You There, Mister Dawkins? It's Me, Teci

i'd really appreciate it if you pass this to everyone that you know. i already took the liberty of posting this on the professor's forum. :)


Are you there, Mister Dawkins?

It's me, Teci.

Sometimes i wonder if you're really there. i've never seen you in the flesh, with my own eyes. i've never heard you speak, with my own ears.
But they say that this is how you look like.

And there's this book that people say you wrote.

And people around the world gather in your name to hear you speak.

But, i don't know. Is that proof enough that you're alive? As in, really?

i still have my doubts. But, i have to admit, i can't really disprove your existence. i'm not sure that you do exist, but i'm not sure that you don't exist, either.

But there's this really intelligent professor who said that we cannot disprove the Flying Spaghetti Monster either. This man said that, that is not enough to prove the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the Tooth Fairy, or God. So he doesn't believe in any of them.

That means that even if i'm not sure that you're not real, i must NOT believe that that you, Professor Dawkins, exist.

Who was that intelligent guy again?

Oh, wait. That'


Professor, i'm confused. If you're real, you just proved to me and to millions around the world that you're not real.

If you're not real, then and only then can what you say be true. But then, you said nothing, for you are nothing.

So your existence and your statements cannot both be true at the same time.

If you are real, then what you say about God is false, and God is not unreal.

If you are not real, then nothing you say about God is false, and God is unreal. But "God is unreal," according to a figment of my imagination.

Your existence and your statements cannot both be true, but your existence and your statements can both be false.

And God? Still standing, unscratched. He did not have to do anything because you simply disproved yourself.




Are you there, Professor?


Why don't you show me a sign, so i can believe, once and for all.








dang. what a waste of time. well, at least now i'm sure of who NOT to talk to anymore.


Dear Prof. Dawkins, sir, and everyone else who is reading this:

i am sorry to have to resort to this. i hate sarcasm, but it's the only way i can show how even the most brilliant minds in the world can make mistakes.

Sir, and everyone: why don't you ask God --- if He's real --- to show Himself to you? The tricky thing is, He's not a puppet; He reveals Himself according to His will, not ours.

But He does promise that
all who seek Him with all their heart will find Him ; that everyone who cares for the truth recognizes His voice; that His still small voice --- what we commonly call "conscience" --- is already speaking in our hearts .

More than that,
God loves the whole world --- that includes you! --- so much that He gave His best, His one and only Son . For so many times, God repeats that all --- that includes you! --- who call on His name will be saved , and only they will have life to the full.]

(And by the way, if it isn't obvious by now, i do believe that you exist, in the same way that i believe He does. :) In the same way, i am sure that this is not a waste of time nor email space; and that you are NOT without hope. :) )]


Much thanks to the satirical article "An Exclusive Interview with James Cameron" by Ted Olsen in Christianity Today, as well as the coming-of-age novel "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret" by Judy Blume and the contemplative novel "Mister God, This is Anna" by 'Fynn'. And also to that chain mail about the atheist professor's brains (you can't see them, so...).

All images taken from The Official Richard Dawkins website: A Clear-Thinking Oasis. As an agnostic-turned-Christian scientist myself, who was and is as thirsty for the truth as Prof. Dawkins is, i can say for certain that Mr. Dawkins has found only a mirage.

For the truth shall prevail; when all opinions fall to the ground and wither with those who make them. :)


teci =)

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.

-- Proverbs 19:21

November 16, 2007

Fwd: Atheism in New Christmas Children's Movie

teci: What can be more effective than a boycott? Though it's easier said than done, also, produce alternatives! Although in this case, it was actually the very Christian Chronicles of Narnia that induced Mr. Pullman to write his own atheistic books.

A dialog is best. Talk with the people around you, whether they be atheist, agnostic, Christian, or not.

Christians: why do you believe? Why are you sure of your faith, enough to be willing to die for it?

Gamaliel, a wise teacher in the time of Jesus (right after He rose again and His followers were multiplying) said this:

"If this plan or undertaking is of man, it will fail;
But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them." (Acts 5:38-39)

In the context of atheism vs. Christianity, both sides will at least agree that the TRUTH will prevail.

So i say, BRING IT ON. :)

(And i'm itching to write my own books na rin! :D )


----- Forwarded Message ----

Dear All,

There will be a new children's movie out in December called "The Golden Compass". The movie has been described as "atheism for kids" and is based on the first book of a trilogy entitled "His Dark Materials" that was written by Phillip Pullman. Pullman is a militant atheist and secular humanist who despises C. S. Lewis and the "Chronicles of Narnia". His motivation for writing this trilogy was specifically to counteract Lewis' symbolisms of Christ that are portrayed in the Narnia series.

Clearly, Pullman's main objective is to bash Christianity and promote atheism. Pullman left little doubt about his intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that "my books are about killing God." He has even stated that he wants to "kill God in the minds of children". It has been said of Pullman that he is "the writer the atheists would be praying for, if atheists prayed."

While "The Golden Compass" movie itself may seem mild and innocent, the books are a much different story. In the trilogy, a young streetwise girl becomes enmeshed in an epic struggle to ultimately defeat the oppressive forces of a senile God. Another character, an ex-nun, describes Christianity as "a very powerful and convincing mistake." In the final book, characters representing Adam and Eve eventually kill God, who at times is called YAHWEH. Each book in the trilogy gets progressively worse regarding Pullman's hatred of Jesus Christ.

"The Golden Compass" is set to premier on December 7, during the Christmas season (and starring Nicole Kidman), and will probably be heavily advertised. Promoters hope that unsuspecting parents will take their children to see the movie, that they will enjoy the movie, and that the children will want the books for Christmas.

Please consider a boycott of the movie and the books. Also, pass this information along to everyone you know (including church leaders). This will help to educate parents, so that they will know the agenda of the movie. I am sending this to those of you who have kids or friends with kids, grandkids or have influence with kids. So many things today are darkness concealed in what appears to be innocent.

Don't let kids see "The Golden Compass".

For anyone with kids, grandkids other relatives or friends who this may concern, I have checked it out at and it is true. More information is provided there along with the corresponding references.

----- End Forwarded Message ----


teci =)

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
-- Proverbs 19:21

November 14, 2007

Answering the Atheists: Why I am a Christian

A Reader's Digest version of why I am a Christian.
by Stan Guthrie

posted 11/13/2007 08:33AM
Christianity Today


Remembering Bertrand Russell's famous essay, "Why I Am Not a Christian," here is a Reader's Digest version of why I am.

Creation: The universe, far from being a howling wasteland indifferent to our existence, appears to be finely tuned through its estimated 13.7 billion years of existence to support life on this planet. Tinker with any one of scores of fundamental physical laws or the initial conditions of the universe — such as gravity or the cosmological constant — and we would not be here. As physicist Paul Davies has admitted, "I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact."

teci --- (1) In fairness, this might also lead people to think that we are just accidents --- the opposite of a purpose-driven Creator! But looking at the universe's size and using math and statistics: shouldn't there be more life (outside earth)? And if life was just a random occurrence, shouldn't there be more variation to life (on earth)? So now we lean again towards concluding that life is more special than accidental.

(2) There are common bio-physico-chemical traits in living things: vertebrates all have backbones for example. Evolution reasons that this is because they have the same ancestor. Creation reasons that this is because they have the same Creator. :)

(3) If the universe just accidentally popped up, how come there are even fundamental scientific laws and constants in the first place? Did they exist before the Big Bang? Scientists and others who do not bow to the absolute God must still bow down to these absolute laws, and therein lies the opportunity for dialog. :)

(4) Even if i could now explain how water turns to clouds and snow and back again...i can't create water, in any of its forms, from scratch. Even if we could see backwards to when the universe began, we do not have the ability to do it ourselves. Should scientists lose wonder as they comprehend how the world works, or should they have greater awe over what they did not create and could barely recreate?]

Beauty: Beethoven's Ninth, a snowflake, the sweet smell of a baby who has been sleeping, and a sunset beyond the dunes of Lake Michigan all point to a magnificent and loving Creator. And isn't it interesting that we have the capacity—unlike mere animals—to gape in awe, to be brought to tears, before them? Truly did David say, "What is man, that you are mindful of him?"

[teci --- To elaborate: we may give scores to beauty pageant contestants but we cannot quantify beauty in the same way that we can simply count the contestants onstage. Beauty is universal and transcendent: like goodness, truth, peace. If there is a God who is universal and transcendent with characteristics like these, then it all makes sense. But if the universe "just happened", then values lose their meaning: bad is as acceptable as good, and beauty is just in the eye of the beholder. But please show me one person who chooses to eat human waste over candy!]

New Testament reliability: Compared with the handful of existing copies of seminal ancient works such as Homer's Iliad, the New Testament's provenance is far better attested. There are thousands of NT manuscripts in existence, some made within mere decades of the events they report. Scholar F. F. Bruce said, " The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar."

The trilemma: C.S. Lewis, commenting on Christ's claim to divinity, said: "You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being [only] a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

Jesus: Napoleon reportedly said, "I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religions the distance of infinity."


Mr. Guthrie went on to elaborate on the accuracy and reliability of Scripture, the Resurrection as concluded from Jesus' missing body and the courage of those who were willing to die to proclaim it, and entire institutions and societies that have progressed when motivated by love and obedience to God. Of course, there are the individual lives that have been undeniably changed and transformed for the better, and the proof in various ways of His existence and love every day. :)

There are different strokes for different folks, so my main reasons for believing and continuing to trust God (you can tell by what i excerpted and elaborated on!) may be quite different from someone else's. But, since i know that God as He revealed Himself in the Bible is TRUE, then it is just a matter of time before "every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord of All." (Philippians 2:10)

free to do good :)

Today's BibleGateway's Verse of the Day:

For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil;
live as servants of God.
- 1 Peter 2:15-16

November 12, 2007

God Network News --- you won't hear this on CNN!


Are you tired of listening to what the big news agencies are feeding you? Then check out, God News, and find out what He is doing in the world today in missions. You won't hear this on CNN! (YWAM - Youth With A Mission)

Atheism is in TROUBLE

Fear mongering among elite atheists is not a pretty sight.
A Christianity Today editorial | posted 1/25/2007 08:32AM

Atheism is in trouble. You can tell because its most eloquent spokesmen are receiving icily critical reviews in the very mainstream press that Christians often dismiss for liberal bias.

Take, for example, the reviews of Richard Dawkins's book The God Delusion that appeared in The New York Times, the London Review of Books, and Harper's. No one would mistake those journals for members of the Evangelical Press Association, but the Times reviewer, science and philosophy writer Jim Holt, upbraided Dawkins for not fully appreciating the intellectual force of classical arguments for God, especially in light of the more sophisticated versions presented by today's theistic philosophers: "Shirking the intellectual hard work," Holt wrote, "Dawkins prefers to move on to parodic 'proofs' that he has found on the internet."

"Those books really haven't dealt with compelling evidence for the existence of God," says Craig Hazen of Dawkins's God Delusion and its close cousin, Sam Harris's Letter to a Christian Nation. Hazen, who directs Biola University's M.A. program in Christian apologetics, told CT, "It's a stronger form of fundamentalism than you can find anywhere."

In the London Review of Books, Terry Eagleton complained that Dawkins reduces complex social problems to simplistic narratives in which religion is the villain. Take Northern Ireland. Dawkins thinks that "the ethno-political conflict" there "would evaporate if religion did."

And Islamist terrorism? Dawkins apparently "holds, against a good deal of the available evidence, that Islamic terrorism is inspired by religion rather than by politics."

But politically inspired Islamist terrorism provides the opening for this new antitheism, says Biola's Hazen. "They are taking advantage of Islamic radicalism to tap into subterranean American fears about religion. There's this notion that religious people will end up strapping dynamite to themselves, and this has got to be stopped."

Reducing the wide spectrum of faiths to a single unfashionable color. Refusing to give the arguments for faith the respect they deserve. These are just the first in a litany of weaknesses in the current antitheism rhetoric.

Crowbar or baseball bat?

You can also tell that atheism is in trouble because it is becoming increasingly intolerant. In the past, atheists (or secular humanists or freethinkers) were often condescendingly tolerant of their less-enlightened fellow citizens. While they disdained religion, they treated their religious neighbors as good-hearted, if misguided.

But now key activists are urging a less civil approach. At a recent forum sponsored by the Science Network at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, the tone of intolerance reached such a peak that anthropologist Melvin J. Konner commented: "The viewpoints have run the gamut from A to B. Should we bash religion with a crowbar or only with a baseball bat?"

This newly aggressive mood (Dawkins calls religious education "brainwashing" and "child abuse") is in danger of undermining civil society.

CT columnist David Aikman recently sounded a warning in a commentary for the Trinity Forum. Sam Harris, he noted, not only advocates a shift from viewing religion as harmless to treating it as dangerous, but he also wants to suppress religion. Aikman evoked images of Mao's China and Stalin's Russia as the future of America—if liberals ever abandon true liberalism.

Make no mistake; it is that potential abandonment of liberalism that Harris and Dawkins are calling for. Dawkins told the forum in La Jolla, "I am utterly fed up with the respect that we—all of us, including the secular among us—are brainwashed into bestowing on religion." In a blog post cited by Aikman, Harris wrote that he is as "wary" of his fellow liberals as he is of "demagogues on the Christian Right."

Christians have long disdained what Eagleton calls the "mealy-mouthed liberalism which believes that one has to respect other people's silly or obnoxious ideas just because they are other people's." But we have also understood it to be a safeguard in civil society. Despite its vapid quality, such liberalism has been a blessing. The antitheistic rhetoric that erodes the ethos of respect is a clear and present danger. Atheists may be a minority (from 8 percent to 27 percent of the American population, depending on the poll and the questions asked), but they tend to dominate elite institutions.

The new atheistic rhetoric betrays panic, another sign of weakness. Atheism knows that it is losing both arguments and the global tide. Stories of the global vibrancy of religion are everywhere trumping the grand narrative of evolutionary progress. And the best philosophers are still taking the God-hypothesis seriously.

Christians should learn from the confident work of apologists who frame for our time arguments for God's existence. (Witness Antony Flew's conversion to theism, reported in CT's April 2005 issue.)

We should also pay attention to the state of civil society, being careful not to overreact to atheism's newly aggressive stance. In an already polarized culture, we cannot afford to destabilize the balance further. Most of all, we must be careful to live out our faith—with demonstrable neighbor love—rather than coasting along in a civil religion that blesses consumer culture and sings praises to the God of materialism. After all, the greatest apologia is love lived out.

Copyright © 2007 Christianity Today.

nothing to fear from the new atheist surge

Fourfold God Squad brilliantly takes on Dawkins, Hitchens, & Co.
by David Aikman | posted 10/31/2007 09:03AM
Christianity Today

You would have to have been hitchhiking across Siberia to have missed a striking new phenomenon: The atheists are back. Not just back, mind you, but globally parading in triumph across tv, bookstores, and the Internet. But don't be tongue-tied; an unlikely God Squad (including the flamboyant Al Sharpton) is taking them on.

In the past 12 months, atheist authors, according to The Wall Street Journal, have created a publishing sensation, selling more than 1 million books worldwide. These include: 500,000 hardcover copies of Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion (2006); 296,000 in sales for Christopher Hitchens's God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007); 185,000 copies of Sam Harris's Letter to a Christian Nation (2006); 64,100 copies of Daniel C. Dennett's Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (2006); and 60,000 copies of Victor J. Stenger's God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (2007).

The leader of the atheist pack is Oxford evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, holder of the Charles Simonyi professorship for the public understanding of science at Oxford University. Simonyi is one of the Microsoft billionaires. An atheist, he insisted that Dawkins be the first holder of his professorship because, as he said, Dawkins would be "Darwin's rottweiler."

Dawkins sets the tone for the new atheist surge, describing the God of the Old Testament as "arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it … petty … unjust, [an] unforgiving control-freak … misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal. … "

Meanwhile, ex-Englishman Hitchens (who once provoked left-wing British mp George Galloway into calling him "a drink-sodden, former Trotskyist popinjay") supports Bush on Iraq, opposes abortion, but considers being a Christian comparable to citizenship in North Korea. In God Is Not Great, the provocative and quotable Hitchens says, "Monotheistic religion is a plagiarism of a plagiarism of a hearsay of a hearsay, of an illusion of an illusion, extending all the way back to a fabrication of a few nonevents."

Riposting with God-Haters

Why a surge by atheists right now? One explanation could be "faith fatigue" among skeptics and the hard-core Left, who ordinarily make up 15 percent of the American people (and a much higher percentage of the European intelligentsia). After six years of a famously evangelical White House, the secularists have recovered from their repudiation at the polls and have come out swinging.

Another explanation is subtler. American evangelicals, we must admit, have not been immune to triumphal attitudes, arrogance, foolish public statements, and, sometimes, downright hypocrisy in personal behavior. A backlash against evangelicals has been brewing for years.

The good news? First, a bracing frontal assault on faith is actually good for evangelicalism. It compels us to reexamine what we believe and to behave—well, with greater humility.

Second, this backlash has produced a fascinating response among believers. For example, the most effective public debater with Christopher Hitchens to date has been Brooklyn Baptist and verbal flame-thrower the Rev. Al Sharpton.

In a debate, Hitchens disparaged the God-fearing sensibilities of Martin Luther King Jr., angering Sharpton. "In terms of the civil-rights movement," Sharpton responded, "it was absolutely fueled by a belief in God and a belief in right or wrong. Had not there been this belief that there was a right and a wrong, the civil-rights movement that you alluded to and referred to would not have existed."

Third, as I will show in a book currently in preparation, The Delusions of Disbelief (Tyndale, 2008), theists have drawn into the debate highly articulate scientists of fervent Christian faith. In England, Alister McGrath, professor of historical theology at Oxford, has battled Dawkins brilliantly on his home turf of science. McGrath holds a doctorate in molecular biophysics as well as one in theology.

Two other new books put forward important ideas about God's existence, offering magnificent ripostes to the atheists. In The Language of God, Francis Collins, a former atheist and director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, refuses to choose between science and God. Former Harvard astronomer Owen Gingerich, in God's Universe, draws a bright line between theists and materialists. He endorses the view that "Science is not threatened by God," he writes. "[I]t is enhanced."belief in "a final cause, a Creator-God" gives us truthful, coherent understanding about the design of the universe.

Christians have nothing to fear from the new atheist surge. We evangelicals, in our advocacy for the gospel, also have no need for blunt weaponry.

Copyright © 2007 Christianity Today.

logic and love convinced this ex-atheist

It took philosophy and a friend to convince this atheist
by Agnieszka Tennant | posted 6/01/2003 12:00AM
Christianity Today

An activist atheist, Christopher Pida often engaged people in debates in order to debunk Christianity. He earned a philosophy degree from California State University at Northridge in 1996, where he said he was "bombarded by relativism." After his best friend, Rob Westerwelt, became a Christian in college, the two would debate for hours.

"I think Rob could have easily driven me away and wrecked any chances of my coming to faith," Pida told CT. Instead, Rob's demeanor was, in Pida's words, "I'm going to love you anyway, but I'm going to stand up for what I believe in." It meant a lot to Pida that, despite their fundamental difference, Westerwelt asked him to be best man at his wedding.

Like Pida, Westerwelt earned his master's in philosophy. It was from Biola, where he now is director of advertising and publications.

Westerwelt invited Pida to last year's Defending the Faith series. Listening to the Biola philosophers made Pida recognize that atheism "took the leap of faith that is usually erroneously blamed on Christianity—a blind, unknowing faith," he says.

Books and taped lectures from Biola's apologists are "why I'm not a moral relativist," he says. They helped him realize the big difference between objective and preference claims. "Torturing babies is wrong; 'I like vanilla ice cream' is a preference," he says. "I became a Christian by force of logic."

Copyright © 2003 Christianity Today.

November 8, 2007

it's all there already!

This is so *simple* and yet it spoke to me so powerfully just now. :)

by Preston Gillham

There I was, frustrated as I tried to put together a new bookshelf. The job required a special tool and none of the hardware stores carried it. Just as I was ready to give up, I saw it in the original box. The manufacturer had already provided all the tools I needed!

It's a shame, but many Christians live life like that, searching for the something they already have. I meet Christians all the time who are searching desperately for acceptance and forgiveness. But God's word is clear: If you are in Christ you are accepted and forgiven — completely — not because of anything you've done, but because of God's great love for you.

The Apostle Paul said it best when he explained, "we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing." By grace it's ours, provided by the Manufacturer Himself. 

 For Lifetime Guarantee, that's our Lifetime Weekly.

Phone: 1.888.395.LIFE (5433)
Please forward this Lifetime Weekly on to a friend.
In doing so, you are helping someone learn to live life as God intended.

(helpful, useful strategies!)

Face value
Mar 29th 2007
From The Economist print edition

“Healthy” television for children sounds crazy. But Magnus Scheving, alias Sportacus, has done very well from it

TODDLERS know Magnus Scheving, the boss of LazyTown Entertainment, as Sportacus. The hero of “LazyTown”, a children's television programme that promotes healthy lifestyles, Sportacus lives in an airship, performs somersaults at the drop of a hat and spends his time thwarting the plans of the town's lazy-minded villain, Robbie Rotten. The role fits Mr Scheving as snugly as Sportacus's blue lycra suit. He has built a colourful business driven by his own cartoonish levels of energy. “I wasn't made to sit at a desk,” he says, wriggling in his chair and constantly jumping up to scribble on a whiteboard, grab another piece of fruit or emphasise a point. Restlessness should not be confused with a lack of focus. In his 20s, Mr Scheving and a friend challenged each other to succeed at a sport neither knew anything about. Mr Scheving wound up with competitive aerobics, became European champion twice and finished second in the world. (He says his friend had to console himself with the crown of Icelandic snooker champion.)

Getty Images

Mr Scheving applies the same intensity to LazyTown. Now on air in more than 100 countries, the programme has won chart-topping ratings among pre-school viewers and a clutch of industry awards since making its debut in America in 2004. Success has been the result of careful planning. Mr Scheving spent more than a decade building the brand in Iceland before moving overseas. The television programme may have established LazyTown internationally but is only one part, albeit a critical one, of the overall franchise. “LazyTown is not a TV property but a lifestyle brand for children,” says Mr Scheving, who peppers his conversation with references to Walt Disney and Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets. A whiteboard in his office maps out a dizzying month-by-month plan of activities and product launches stretching to the end of 2011.

Mr Scheving first turned movement into money as a five-year-old, carrying messages in the Icelandic town where he grew up to people who did not own a phone. He began his working life as a carpenter, and he personally fitted out the studio on the outskirts of Reykjavik where “LazyTown” is filmed. In his spare time he worked as a fitness instructor and also built up a thriving sideline as a motivational speaker on health and fitness. He quickly realised that there were plenty of healthy role models for adults—but none for children.

The LazyTown characters first appeared in a book in 1991. Further books and musicals followed, all penned by the hyperactive Mr Scheving himself. Spin-off activities have included the LazyTown Economy, a month-long campaign in which Icelandic children used their savings to buy vouchers that could be traded for a range of healthy products. (Vegetable consumption went up by 12.5% during the promotion.) Mr Scheving says he had his eye on international expansion from the start but bided his time for three reasons. First, close-knit Iceland provided the ideal test of brand integrity because “people know where you live”. Second, he wanted to test the LazyTown concept on two generations of pre-schoolers, not just one. Third, he wanted to do some proper homework on the television industry.

His research indicated that successful children's shows have a number of attributes. Timelessness is one. Mr Scheving, who confesses to a “mania for detail”, designed the costumes and sets for “LazyTown” so that they cannot be dated. For similar reasons, the show's theme song, which reached number four in the British singles chart last December, was given an untranslatable title (“Bing Bang”) to smooth internationalisation. A distinctive style is also important. The vibrant mixture of computer-generated imagery, puppets and live action in “LazyTown” is instantly recognisable. It is expensive, too: each 24-minute episode costs $800,000 to make, an unprecedented amount for a children's television programme ($200,000 is closer to the norm). This makes it even more important to have a full range of licensing and merchandising opportunities to exploit. Toys, costumes and books already bear the LazyTown name in many countries. Live tours have been franchised in Britain and Latin America. Talks are under way with Nintendo to create a video game for its Wii console, which features a motion-sensitive controller. Internet projects are also being mulled.

Healthy scepticism

Licensing is one of two potentially sensitive areas for the LazyTown brand. There have already been some mutterings in Iceland about over-commercialisation. “We could have filled LazyTown products with advertising, but we haven't,” retorts a somewhat defensive Mr Scheving, who adds that the company could easily make much more money by skimping on the quality of the TV programme. But he admits that choosing the right products can be difficult, especially in food. Some decisions are easier than others. The company quickly turned down the chance to endorse a range of healthy crisps, for instance. Exercise equipment is also out of bounds—Mr Scheving is keen for “LazyTown” not to be labelled explicitly as a health or fitness show.

The other sensitive point is the obvious irony of a TV programme encouraging children to be healthier and more active. Surely they should start by switching off the box? Mr Scheving tries to brave it out. It is a fact that children watch television, he says—and TV has its place, in moderation. Faced with the growing problem of child obesity, governments are grateful for any help they can get in persuading youngsters to spend less time on the sofa. Iceland's health ministry has lauded LazyTown's impact, and Mr Scheving won the Nordic Public Health prize in 2004. The British government is now in talks with the firm over a joint campaign. At 42, Mr Scheving cannot play Sportacus for ever, but he is optimistic about the future. “Health is never going to go out of fashion,” he says, reaching for more fruit.

Missions Isn't Safe


Short-Term Missions in Dangerous Countries: Your Thoughts?

teci: Please see the link in the title for all the respondents' answers. Not surprisingly (to those who know me!), i only included excerpts of the answers i myself would give or agree with :D

The Pulse

Lessons from the South Korean kidnappings in Afghanistan.
posted 11/07/2007 09:28AM
Christianity Today

Should churches send short-term mission groups into dangerous or closed countries?

27% Yes

* Christians are to go everywhere (Acts 1:8).
* The Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles spread the message of Yahweh and the gospel in places they were not supposed to go.
* Jesus warned us that bearing witness to the gospel involves danger. Sacrifice will be demanded. Lives will be lost.
* If we are to take the gospel to the entire world as we're commanded, then these kinds of mission efforts are essential.

* * *

When such groups go and suffer persecution, how should their government respond?

17% The church should not ask its government to respond.

* We should use the spiritual weapons of prayer and voluntary suffering—not the diplomatic and military rights of our government—to change the hearts of the persecutors.
* To do so only confirms the belief of leaders of the country involved that churches are an arm of the government.
* The church has no government. It should not petition the government for anything at all. Missionary groups go knowing the dangers and should be willing to accept the consequences.

a call to return to Truth based on Reason (not what we feel)


By: Francis Schaeffer, J. P. Moreland
More in IVP Classics Series
Inter-varsity Press / 2007 / Paperback

Truth used to be based on reason. No more. What we feel is now the truest source of reality. Despite our obsession with the emotive and the experiential, we still face anxiety, despair, and purposelessness.
How did we get here? And where do we find a remedy?
In this modern classic, Francis A. Schaeffer traces trends in twentieth-century thought and unpacks how key ideas have shaped our society. Wide-ranging in his analysis, Schaeffer examines philosophy, science, art and popular culture to identify dualism, fragmentation and the decline of reason.
Schaeffer's work takes on a newfound relevance today in his prescient anticipation of the contemporary postmodern ethos. His critique demonstrates Christianity's promise for a new century, one in as much need as ever of purpose and hope.
Francis A. Schaeffer founded the L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland and was the author of many books, including The God Who Is There. Until his death in 1984, he was also a noted speaker with a worldwide ministry. His ministry continues through his books, with over two million copies in print.

book by scientist-physician-journalist Christian!

By: Dr. Timothy Johnson
Inter-varsity Press / 2006 / Paperback

Does God exist? If so, what is he like? What difference does it make? These are the seminal issues Dr. Timothy Johnson probes as he embarks on his deeply personal journey of Finding God in the Questions. Join this scientist, journalist, and Christian as he reflects on God the Creator, explores the significance of Jesus, and shares how his faith has shaped his career as a physician and ABC News medical editor. 240 pages, softcover, InterVarsity.


America's Music
Published: November 7, 2007
The New York Times

With the lyrics projected on an overhead screen, a rock band performs for Harbor, the 30-to-55 age group, during Saturday evening services at High Desert Church in Victorville, Calif. Photograph by Jim Wilson/ NYTimes

VICTORVILLE, Calif. — Mike Day, singer and guitarist, gathered his rock band around him.

Dressed in a faded black T-shirt, jeans and skateboard sneakers, he bent his shaved head. “God,” he said, “I hope these songs we sing will be much more than the music. I know it’s so difficult at times when we’re thinking about chords and lyrics and when to hit the right effect patch, but would you just help that to become second nature, so that we can truly worship you from our hearts?”

A few minutes later the band broke into three songs of slightly funky, distorted rock with heaving choruses, and the room sang along: 1,500 or so congregants of High Desert Church here, where Mr. Day, 33, is a worship director. This was Sunday night worship for the young-adult subset of the church’s congregation, but it was also very much a rock show, one that has helped create a vibrant social world in this otherwise quiet desert town.

There has been enormous growth in the evangelical Protestant movement in America over the last 25 years, and bands in large, modern, nondenominational churches — some would say megachurches — like this one, 90 miles northeast of Los Angeles, now provide one of the major ways that Americans hear live music.

The house bands that play every weekend in High Desert Church — there are a dozen or so — scavenge some of their musical style from the radio and television. They reflect popular taste, though with lyrics about the power of God, not teenage turmoil.

They are not aiming for commercial success. Church-based Christian rock — often referred to as C.C.M., for contemporary Christian music — does not exist primarily to compete in mainstream culture; it exists first to bring together a community.

“When you start a church,” said Tom Mercer, 52, the senior pastor, “you don’t decide who you’re going to reach and then pick a music style. You pick a music style, and that determines who’s going to come.”

High Desert Church has a sprawling concrete campus that includes a lavish auditorium, a gym, classrooms and office space for its 70 employees. Once a traditional Baptist church, it moved toward nondenominational and evangelical Christianity in the mid-1990s and experienced steep growth. Now more than 8,000 people attend services here at least twice a month.

A number of factors encouraged the church’s expansion, Mr. Mercer and others say. For one thing, there are more people in Victorville to receive the gospel: since the early 1990s the region has been experiencing a population surge, as city dwellers have moved north from Los Angeles County, seeking lower real estate costs.

For another, in 1993 the church hired Jeff Crandall, the drummer for a Christian punk band called the Altar Boys, as its music director.

Mr. Crandall, 46, spent more than a decade crossing the country in vans, playing in churches, nightclubs and high school gyms, fighting the battle for a more progressive and aggressive worship music. “I knew that the future, even in the early ’80s, was with bands in churches,” he said. “I liked hymns as a kid, but I just didn’t see myself waving my arms and directing them. I’ve always been one of those guys who tries to figure his own way.”

A Band for Every Age Group

What he did was to pack the church with rock ’n’ roll. He organized a rotation of bands, so the volunteering musicians — drawn from the largely commuter population of Victorville and its surrounding towns — would not exhaust themselves by playing to multiple services. And then he let them play, loudly.

High Desert Church holds three different large services over the weekend for three different age groups, with music tailored to each audience: Seven (so named for the number’s positive associations in the Bible), the 18-to-30-year-old set that made up Mr. Day’s audience; Harbor, the 30-to-55 group; and Classic, for people 55 and over. The church also maintains even more bands for services at the junior high, high school and elementary school levels. Each band carefully calibrates its sound toward the pop culture disposition of the target age group.

Young people and future generations are in fact the fixation of High Desert Church, which has already broken ground on building a children’s ministry complex called Pointe Discovery, a $20 million project financed entirely by worshiper donations. “If I ask God’s people to give me $20 million,” Mr. Mercer said during an interview in his corner office, “when I stand before God someday, I don’t want to hear him say, ‘Dude, you wasted a ton of my money.’ I want him to say, ‘You did a good job.’ My definition of a good job is that it will impact people until Christ comes back.”

‘Hey God’

Praise-rock is at the heart of that impact. The teenagers and young adults at High Desert — those who haven’t been attending services since birth — tend to say they joined the church for the teaching and the community, and stayed because of the bands. But some are clearly more enthusiastic about the music itself.

“I started out in Harbor, but I moved to Seven because I liked the music more,” said Tony Cherco, 32, a recent arrival to the church who would not have been out of place in the East Village: he wore a long beard and large rings in his earlobes. “Between Pastor Tom and the music of Seven, I was like, yes!”

To generalize, the music tailored to the Seven service is modern rock, with a modicum of wired aggressiveness. (In its sets before and after the pastor’s sermon, the band does play some adaptations of hymns, including a power-chord version of the doxology. It was arranged by the worship minister Matt Coulombe to approximate the droning, locomotive style of the secular New York rock band Secret Machines, one of his favorite groups.)

The music for Harbor, meanwhile, resembles U2 from about 1985, while the Classic crowd gets a softer and more acoustic sound, like the West Coast folk-rock of the 1970s.

For the children, in both their Sunday school classes and youth group events, the music is pop-punk. The idea is to keep their attention with high energy, then to slide gradually toward contemplation.

On a Saturday afternoon in October a group for the junior high contingent, called Power Surge, which included four guitarists and two bassists, played in the church gym, rehearsing a version of the Jason Wallis song “Hey God.” Fifteen girls performed choreographed hand motions to the music, which sounded like pious Ramones:

Hey, hey, hey, God I love you

Hey, hey, hey, God I need you

I know there’s not anything you can’t do

I know there’s nothing you won’t see me through

Hey God!

These bands don’t need to take all their cues from secular rock. Since the ’70s there have been Christian versions of all kinds of genres, from folk-rock to metal to punk. But the music heard at this church descends more directly from other Christian music.

The fountainheads are artists like Lincoln Brewster, a singer, guitarist and songwriter who began as a touring rock guitarist in the mid-’90s and later became music minister at several churches, before starting his own recording career. His highly melodic songs, as well as those by other Christian-rock artists like Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman, are performed here in nearly constant rotation.

Then there is Air One, a national FM radio network with 164 stations that serves as an index of the current Christian-rock movement and provides a playlist for many of the bands here. For the most part the groups at High Desert Church don’t write their own songs; they are high-functioning garage bands, playing cover versions. But they operate in a large, modern auditorium with top-quality sound, lights and video operated by young volunteers; there are smoke machines and overhead screens that announce the title of each song and its lyrics.

Staying Humble

Still, showmanship has its limits in praise-rock music. The musicians don’t want to distract themselves, or their audiences, from the higher purpose of serving God; in interviews they talked about not exuding rock-star charisma but instead remaining humble. “We’re not up there to have people say, ‘Wow, what an amazing band,’” Mr. Day said. His goal, he explained, was to play with excellence but to remain “transparent.”

“There’s a constant tension,” he continued, “between the audience and the people on the stage, all thinking, ‘O.K., music is a great tool, but the ultimate purpose is worship.’ And riding that tension is tough.”

The congregants also tend to respond fairly chastely. A performance at a Seven service may look like a rock show, with the audience dressed as fashionably as the band, but in some ways it represents an inversion of one.

The tall, solemn bassist Zac Foster, 15, played twice over the weekend: with the in-house high school praise band Fuel on Saturday, and with the Sunday morning junior high group as well. He has a six-string bass and a guitar strap with a large white cross on the front. And he is adamant about the idea of music as merely a means to an end.

“It’s structured, and we play well, but we’re still allowed to worship,” he said with a serious face. “Worship comes first. Music just falls into place.”

Bobby Stolp, 39, a drummer in several different bands here, agreed. “It’s all about the heart of worship,” he said. “God can enjoy a distorted guitar as well as a clean guitar. Especially when you’re playing it for him.”

November 6, 2007

choosing life and good :)

from The Philippine Star: Daily Bread
Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. — Deuteronomy 30:15
You’ve heard the infamous name of John Wilkes Booth. He assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. But have you heard about Edwin Booth, John’s eldest brother? Edwin, a well-known actor, was waiting at a Jersey City train station when he saw someone slip and fall off the platform. Edwin quickly grabbed the man’s collar and pulled him to safety — rescuing him from serious injury or death. Who was the man he saved? Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert, a soldier in the Civil War.
How ironic that the man who saved Lincoln’s son had a brother who would soon kill the president. One saved a life; one took a life. One chose life; the other chose death.
The Lord gave His people a choice between life and death. They could love Him and obey His commands (Deut. 30:16), or they could worship and serve other gods (v. 17). He told them: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life” (v. 19).
We too have a choice between life and death. We can receive Jesus as our Savior and live with Him forever, or we can reject Jesus and be in darkness forever without Him. The best choice is clear. Receive God’s gift of His Son Jesus. Choose life! — Anne Cetas

The choice we make determines our
Eternal destination;
One leads to everlasting life;
The other, condemnation. — Sper

READ: Deuteronomy 30:15
The choice you make today will determine your tomorrow.

The Bible in one year:
• Jeremiah 37-39
• Hebrews 3

November 5, 2007

just keep your eyes on Me...

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

...Apart from me you can do nothing.

...As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love." ---John 15:4,5b,9-10,12

by LeAnn Rimes

Here in the free land there are detours on the gravel roads
Sometimes it feels like there's just no right way to go
There'll be times you'll go crazy
And times you'll break down
Always something that stands in your way

Just keep your eyes on Me
Never lose sight of Me
This love
Nothing can come between us
When we're following
This love
This love

Everybody is bound to feel lost now and then
But I'll be the one babe, that'll be there for you 'til the end
Through good days and bad
The ups and the downs
Don't you ever let go of your dreams

Just keep your eyes on Me
Never lose sight of Me
This love
Nothing can come between us
When we're following
This love
This love...

I'll be your northern star
When everything's dark I will shine for you
Shine for you...

Just keep your eyes on Me
Never lose sight of Me
This love
Nothing can come between us
When we're following
This love
This love...

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. --- Philippians 3:12-14

written and directed by :)

Back to back movies courtesy of cable TV:

written and directed by Cameron Crowe
see Wikipedia, Internet Movie Database (thanks for the quotes), Apple Trailers, and the official site

Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom): In that moment, I knew success, not greatness, was the only god the world served. 

Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst): So you failed. Alright you really failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You think I care about that? I do understand. You wanna be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make them wonder why you're still smiling.

Drew Baylor: No true fiasco ever began as a quest for mere adequacy. A motto of the British Special Air Force is: 'Those who risk, win.' A single green vine shoot is able to grow through cement. The Pacific Northwestern salmon beats itself bloody on its quest to travel hundreds of miles upstream against the current, with a single purpose --- sex of course --- but

written and directed by Spike Lee
Wikipedia and Internet Movie Database (thanks for the quotes)

Jake Shuttlesworth: I pray you understand why I pushed you so hard! It was only to get you to that next level, son. I mean, you's the first Shuttlesworth that's ever gonna make it out of these projects, and I was the one who who put the ball in your hand, son! I put the ball in your crib!

Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen): God ain't shit!
Jake Shuttlesworth: Number one, why you gotta use this kinda language? What you some kinda heathen now? You don't make no mistakes? You be out here shootin', but you don't miss no shots ever? EVER? People make mistakes! People veer off the path! God forgives them!
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Has God forgiven you for killing my mother?
Jake Shuttlesworth: I pray that He has, son. I believe He has. When will you?

i hope you guys and gals get to catch these movies created from the heart by their respective, er, creators :) (i learned a LOT from them, even if i just caught the last parts!)

Ah, Lord. Thinking about movies written and directed by me leaves me all swooning and daydreaming...and not able to focus on my current tasks. *tsk tsk!* :D

Since my life is supposedly written and directed by (in my cool bro's words) The Great One, then i should be getting back to work :) (which i love to do too, by the way!)

Keepin' on dreamin' though.