Noah Film Review

Noah, a film by Darren Aronofsky starring Russel Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson was just release on March 28. Many Christian Pastor’s have been challenged to ignore the rumors and see the film. We have been challenged to abandon our narrow minded view of scripture and allow for artistic license. The argument is that we ought to support even gross distortions of a Biblical account as a means of supporting “faith based” films.

Well – I’ve seen the Noah film…and I disliked it very much. In fact, is so disliked it that I immediately posted to my Facebook and Twitter accounts an admonition to others not to bother seeing the film. I feel that the film does more than take artistic license – it distorts the Biblical text so grossly it is, as Darren Aronofsky said “the least biblical biblical film ever made.” He’s right – he would have done better to call it “Waterworld 2 – a prequel to another really bad film” and kept the Biblical controversy out of it. Of course, adding a Pseudo-Biblical slant kept it from being a 125 million dollar embarrassment.

Since then, there have been a number of comments about my review of the “Noah” film and I would like to comment on them. In short, some people take issue with Christians being too narrow minded. This film, they argue, is just entertainment, we shouldn’t get so uptight and it was never intended to be a literal version of the Biblical story. The argument can also include a subtle rebuke about being “judgmental” or, even, missing an opportunity to encourage Hollywood to make more “faith based” films…as if using a Biblical name for a main character along with a general plot point from a Bible story-line is sufficient to call a film “faith based.” One Pastor went so far as to say he was ashamed to be part of a faith community that was so easily upset. (Really? Try making a film about Mohammed and see if there is a difference in reaction from the Islamic community and perhaps our Pastor friend won’t be so ashamed to be part of the Christian community that engages in dialogue on Facebook vs Jihad)

But I think these counter-arguments to my review miss a few points. 1) My review AS A MOVIE-GOER is that this film is one dimensional, poorly filmed, nearly monotone or monochromatic…in other words, REGARDLESS of the story line I personally did not like the film-making. Several of the actors did, in my view, an outstanding job with their performance. I give a thumbs up to Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson in particular here. But when you compare the film-making of “Noah” to, say…”Oblivion” (with Tom Cruise) – both of which were filmed in Iceland – the difference in quality is tremendous in my view. Noah comes across as dark, foreboding and uncomfortable (and this may have been the director’s intention. In fact, I’m willing to bet it was his intention). This just didn’t appeal me. Oblivion came across as sweeping and breathtaking. Both films were shot in the same area but the actual film making was so much more appealing to me in Oblivion. I didn’t like “Noah” as a film first, script second.

But the second issue IS something I will comment on as a Pastor, as an evangelical, born-again Christian. It is too important to me because the truth is the vast majority of people in western culture today don’t really know what the Bible teaches in the first place. Even Christians, for the most part, are unaware in this regard. For example, the Bible DOES record Noah getting drunk after the flood but makes no mention at all of the people’s reaction to Noah building the ark – both ideas are in the film, but one is Biblical and the other is not. Many people assume much but have never really read the Genesis account – Christians included.

So…A film that purports to be an “interpretation” of the Genesis account but significantly distorts it runs the risk of planting seeds of misinformation about the Genesis account into the minds of people who are so misinformed. In other words, a subtle shift in worldview can be affected by such a film. Furthermore, the addition of elements into the film that are mythological (Magical stones, rock-monster “watchers”, Edenic seeds that magically produce instant forests, magically glowing snake skins etc) implies A) that the writer/director of the film considers Genesis to be myth and B) the writer / director wants to COMMUNICATE, through the medium of a block-buster, A-list actor film – that Genesis is nothing but myth. That’s something I don’t want to support because it runs counter to my personal views. MANY people do believe that Genesis is myth and they have the right to think so. I believe they can and should argue their points as strenuously as they like because I intend to argue that Genesis is real history just as strenuously. Many people, many very smart people with advanced degrees even, believe that Genesis is a historical account. Not everyone views the 1st 11 chapters of Genesis as unhistorical. So, while Aronofsky should be afforded the freedom to express his views my argument is that Christians ought NOT to support the dispersion of his views.

Clearly the controversy has generated ticket sales – that isn’t a coincidence. That’s actually brilliant marketing. And equally clearly – this CAN be an opportunity for discussion that may lead Christians to explain the Biblical story. That is true and I think Christians, Pastors and para-church ministries like Answers in Genesis should capitalize on this controversy.

But also true is the historical Christian belief is that the Bible is the word of God. The historic Christian faith teaches that the Bible is inspired by God, that it is true. Thus, a distortion of this story is a distortion of the revealed word of God. In fact, it could be considered insulting to our faith to so distort it. There are Christians, of course, who have a lower view of scripture – they think Jewish mysticism and even Gnostic musings from the past can accurately shed light on the Biblical text. I don’t believe this nor has this been the view of the historic tenets of the Christian faith. Many Christians today are not as certain of their view on scripture as accurate or historical (particularly Genesis) but that has not been the case for the majority of the last two millennia. So, supporting this film at the box office only serves to undermine a high view of scripture.

Now…It is acceptable in my view for the director of this film to be allowed, encouraged, even applauded for his bold use of his 1st amendment rights to make such a film. He may wish to voice his opinion that Genesis is a myth – as I have my right to say that it isn’t and that I’m concerned the mythological elements of this film do damage to the public perception of Genesis. But I think that Christians would do well NOT to support this film by paying to see it so that further attempts to belittle, distort or otherwise re-interpret the Bible would be discouraged.

Of course, the irony is that I paid to see this film – but I did so in order to speak intelligently about it. It’s not hypocrisy because I had no real warning about the film – just rumors. But this review IS a warning! What I would like to see, and would encourage Christians to support financially, are films that portray an accurate portrayal of Biblical history.

In summary, I didn’t like the film for film-making reasons and I didn’t like it for Biblical reasons. There are plenty of films out there that make no comment on the Bible that I don’t like too! But I’m no so one dimensional that I can’t enjoy a film that has religious overtones that don’t agree with the Bible either. I hope that clears up my comments.

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Honest Answers: How Can We KNOW There Is A God In The First Place.

In the modern, scientific world there seems to be a conflict between science and religion. Many people today think the Bible can’t be trusted because it explains that God created everything but modern science says natural events, like evolution, created life, the universe and everything in it. If a natural process of evolution is really what started life then the Bible is wrong and cannot be trusted because the Bible says “God created the heavens and the earth.”

Understanding how the universe was made and how life came to be on Earth is really the key to knowing if God is real or not. The Bible explains that what may be known about the real God can be known from what was created. In fact, it even says that every human being knows, deep down, that God is real because of what was made.

Romans 1: 19 NLT

For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. 20 From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people, or birds and animals and snakes. 24 So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen.

The word “science” itself just means knowledge. Scientists watch the natural world, describe what they observe and use experiments to try to figure out how things work. The more scientists observe the natural world the more they see how natural things like chemistry cannot explain how life began. Only a powerful being who is bigger than chemistry and not held back by time can really explain the universe.

For example, the is evidence is very compelling that the universe had a beginning. Albert Einstein explained this in a theory called “the General Theory of Relativity”. This theory seems to fit with what we see in the universe. Scientists also see that the universe is stretching out or expanding. This means that at some time in the past all of the energy in the universe was in one place and stretched out from there. Many scientists think this beginning place was very small, maybe as small as an atom, and then expanded outward after an explosion they call “The Big Bang.” Both Relativity and the Big Bang idea explain that the universe had a beginning. Even scientists who try to explain the universe in other ways admit that the evidence we see today tells us the universe had a beginning.

This is important because if the universe had a beginning that means everything had to come…from nothing![i]. Scientists, of course, cannot explain by any natural law or process how material things (matter) and energy could come from nothing but the evidence remains very strong that the universe had a beginning.

The Bible also says the universe had a beginning in an explosion of light energy when God created light out of nothing. This fits the scientific evidence that the universe had a sudden beginning out of nothing.

Genesis 1: 3 (KJV)

And God said, “Let there be light; and there was light.”

The Bible also teaches us that God “stretched out” the heavens. This fits the evidence that the universe is stretching out or expanding as we see it today.

Isaiah 40: 22 (NKJV)

It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

Scientists also know that life is very special. It is much more than just chemistry. We now know that every life-form is built from a complicated set of instructions we find today in DNA and proteins[ii]. These instructions are very precise. They are actually a code, very much like a computer code or the blueprints for a complicated machine. The information we find in the DNA code and in proteins is also very specific and very complicated. This information tells the cell how to build all the protein building blocks that make living things function. Without the code there would be no life.

The problem for people who don’t believe in God is that the special information we find in DNA codes and proteins cannot be explained just with chemistry. Regular chemistry cannot build specific and complicated blueprints with digital, coded information. Experiments prove that random chance or chemistry cannot ever build this kind of information[iii]. In fact, we only know of one thing in the entire universe that can build things like computer codes and blueprints – intelligent minds. This fact isn’t just an opinion or a religious concept – it is what scientific experiments have confirmed in every case. Digital, specific, coded information has never been observed to come from a random or chemical source. In the same way, the complicated, digital, specific, coded information we see in DNA and proteins can only be explained by a super-intelligence that is able to create and use chemistry.

Scientists cannot explain how life could have started with just chemistry and natural laws. The Bible tells us that God is real and that He created the heavens and the earth. The Bible’s description of creation and the nature of God fits with the facts of science. It is from what has been made that we can know that God is real.


[i] Strobel, Lee The Case for a Creator. Quoting Dr. Stephen Meyer, p. 77 “…the new cosmology – the Big Bang theory and its accompanying theoretical underpinning in general relativity. These two theories now point to a definite beginning of the universe. The fact that most scientists now believe that energy, matter, space, and time had a beginning is profoundly antimaterialistic.”

[ii] Ibid p. 78 “Life at its root requires information, which is stored in DNA and protein molecules.”

[iii] Meyer, Stephen. Signature in the Cell p. 467 “Further, since self-organizational affinities fail to explain the sequential arrangements of DNA base sequences generally, they do nothing to account for even more sophisticated forms of sequencing (i.e., those involving dual messaging) in the genome. Instead, this form of encryption seems to point decisively to design, because the use of such encryption techniques are, based upon our experience, the sole province of intelligent agents. We know of no other cause of this effect. The evidence of sophisticated encryption techniques within the genome thus constitutes another distinctive diagnostic – or signature – of intelligence in the cell.”

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Honest Answers to Tough Questions

I’ve not been blogging since September 2013 – but that is about to change in a BIG way…As a Pastor I’ve started a series of sermons called “Honest Answers To Tough Questions.” This series takes on difficult questions like “How can a loving God send people to Hell” and “How do we deal with all those weird Old Testament Laws -and why do we select some to apply to day but not others”. That’s not the actual titles of the sermons (that would be too long :) but that is the gist of what I was preaching that day…

Well…this series became REALLY popular really fast – so popular that I had a FLOOD of questions come in. In addition to that I’m finishing my new book “Understanding Why the Bible Can Be Trusted” and that has a question and answer section. All of this means that I CAN’T answer every question in a Sunday morning sermon – cue hitting the blog re-start button.

In the near future you will see a series of short blog entries that attempts to answer these tough questions. This will link directly to the church website and we will do all that we can to promote links to these answers on Twitter and Facebook. If you enjoy the blog and these answers – please promote them on your Twitter and Facebook accounts too – let’s see if we can’t blow this blog into the ionosphere.

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LGBT intolerance and government “Doublethink”

Photo: Melissa and Aaron Klein_wsb_520x350_melissa+and+aaron

 

Concerning the case of the Oregon Bakery, Sweetcakes by Melissa, that had to close after militant attacks by the LGBT community…

“Commissioner Brad Avakian of the Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries explained the following to The Oregonian Newspaper.

“Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that folks have the right to discriminate,” he told the newspaper. “The goal is to rehabilitate. For those who do violate the law, we want them to learn from that experience and have a good, successful business in Oregon.”

Hmmm….the goal is to rehabilitate? So…The goal of an American GOVERNMENT council overseeing business is to “rehabilitate” people’s beliefs?” That sounds like a threat from a government official that if you want to have a “successful business” (at least in Oregon) you had better rehabilitate your beliefs to conform to the state approved standard!

How is this not CHILLING to you?

In this case the government was called upon to investigate a family owned business that decided baking a wedding cake for a gay marriage ceremony violated their personal religious beliefs. The resulting investigation was supported by virtual terrorist tactics employed by homosexual activists and their supporters threatening other businesses that did business with the bakery in a brutal and ultimately successful campaign to destroy this upstart bakery business that dared stand up for what it believes in.

You may not agree with a Christian’s beliefs on gay marriage but how is discrimination against Christians not…discrimination? How is it acceptable for a government official to say “that doesn’t mean that folks have the right to discriminate” and then fully support discrimination against Christians? It appears that it’s okay for the government to discriminate in at least one case – against Christian beliefs.

Of course I recognize that the debate is also “in-house”.

There are plenty of people who claim the title of Christian but have no problem with gay marriage. There are Christians who might have a problem with gay marriage personally but wouldn’t have any problem taking a homosexual person’s money in a business transaction. After all – should Christian owned businesses take a poll of very customer coming through the line to make sure they only cater to people who think the same way they do? Of course not! I’m a Christian businessman and I don’t take such a poll…

But in everyone’s heart – there is a line that needs to be drawn in the sand.

I own a business trimming and removing trees – and I am also the lead pastor of a church. In the tree business I don’t find a need to draw such a line in the sand. It doesn’t affect my religious beliefs to trim the trees on your property if you are homosexual. I don’t care and I don’t think that trimming your trees in any way violates my conscience because trimming your trees makes no statement about my support or non-support of your lifestyle. It’s a non-issue.

But the church is different. We have made it clear that we will not rent our facility to anyone who does not fully subscribe to our statement of faith, belief and Christian practice. This means our church facility cannot be rented to a homosexual couple who wants to use it for a homosexual wedding ceremony. But we wouldn’t rent it for a Buddhist ceremony either.

Now – we have nothing against homosexuals or Buddhists but we’ve drawn this line in the sand because the use of our facility DOES make a statement about our support or non-support of a particular belief system. It is an issue in this case because our facility is dedicated to the worship of our God. The God we believe in demands holiness based on His standards of holiness (not ours and not our culture’s standards either). The God we believe in condemns the practice of homosexuality as unacceptable to Him. You don’t have to believe in our God…but we do!

And because we do we’ve drawn a line in the sand…

Now if you don’t like our line there are plenty of facilities in this city that don’t have such a line. That’s the beauty of freedom…so long as it exists in this country anyway.

Now…if our society is supposed to be truly tolerant we need to respect these sorts of “faith based” lines in the sand when they are drawn. This bakery felt they couldn’t make a wedding cake – this was their line in the sand. It may not be yours, but Christian or not – if we support the first amendment, if we say we believe in tolerance then we SHOULD be outraged – but over what???

Well…NOT because the opposition protested the bakery’s line in the sand!

I mean, the opposition to this Christian business does have a right to its voice and while I’m saddened personally that other businesses gave into the terrorist tactics employed by the supposedly tolerant LGBT “community”, they do have this right and I won’t dispute it. I equally saddened that the Christian community didn’t adequately support the bakery but I won’t say that the LGBT community shouldn’t have the right to voice their displeasure.

And we certainly shouldn’t be outraged over the fact this business owner drew a line in the sand in the first place either.

No – the real outrage is a government official making it clear that the position of the government is to “rehabilitate” those of us with Christian beliefs. THAT is the real outrage here.

If we refuse, as a society, to respect personal religious beliefs then it’s only a matter of time before the government begins to legislate which personal religious beliefs are acceptable and which are not. This is, in fact, what the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries is doing! And lest you think I am overstating the concern consider the following…

The Romeike family believes in homeschooling to teach their children their Christian beliefs – but the government of Germany where they are from has made homeschooling illegal. They applied for and were given asylum in the United States…but the Obama administration is currently trying to deport them because the government finds that they have no fundamental right to teach their children and going back to Germany won’t infringe on rights they shouldn’t have in the first place!

The New Mexico Supreme Court decided that Christian photographers who refused to shoot a homosexual wedding are guilty of a crime. Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes quotes the New Mexico Supreme justices in that case as saying the photographers are “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.”

Now we have a state supreme court ruling that I, as a Christian, am compelled by law to compromise my religious beliefs?

This is real life folks, today’s news. This isn’t a bad rewrite of the novel “1984” but it’s starting to sound more and more like one. And I, for one, believe that the laws of my God – to whom I’ve pledged my life – trump the laws of this or any other government.

Period.

And I’m not alone. The founding fathers of THIS country made their stand on this very principle…

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”

It was the idea that GOD had given certain rights that no government could trample that brought this country into being out of the primordial chaos of tyranny and monarchy that griped the world for thousands of years. This is not a simple case of business discrimination but an attack at the very foundation of the freedoms we hold most dear.

In his article at Fox, Starnes went on to mention…

  • A cookie shop in Indianapolis facing intrusive government investigation after politely declining to make rainbow cookies for National Coming Out Day.
  • A T-shirt company in Lexington, Ky facing a similar investigation after saying they wouldn’t make T-shirts for a homosexual rights organization.

And there are dozens more examples.

Where does it end? Should the government force every school in the United States to  teach that homosexual practices are fully acceptable and every belief contrary to this “fact” is reprehensible intolerance?

Wait a minute, they ARE doing this!

And this is why we have a homeschool movement in this country. And this is why many of our churches have private religious schools too. But if our government continues to support the idea that my religious beliefs require “rehabilitation” than we might as well begin calling each other “comrade” on a more regular basis.

In the end, regardless of whether or not you are proudly from the left, the right or the center in terms of your politics – you would do well to remember that this country was founded on the principle of RELIGIOUS freedom first. The pilgrims who came here were escaping political terrorism that refused to allow them to homeschool their children in the Bible. If we allow our government to continue to support the idea that the rights of people who participate in a particular sexual behavior are GREATER than religious liberties (which ironically are the foundation upon which they have the right to practice this behavior at all – try practicing homosexuality in Saudi Arabia) then we are headed back to the England of King George.

 

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A 4th of July THREAT to liberty we need to consider…

The following is commentary from Todd Starnes blog about the Romeike family, a German evangelical Christian family that is facing DEPORTATION after being GRANTED asylum in the United States because they insist on home schooling their children…

“The family was initially granted asylum, but the Department of Justice objected and demanded the Christian family be deported.

“Attorney General Holder is trying to seek dismissal of this case because he believes that targeting specific groups in the name of tolerance is within the normal legitimate functions of government,” said Michael Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association. “This cannot be the ultimate position of the United States without denying the essence of our commitment to liberty.”

In their latest court briefing, the Justice Department referenced international court rulings that held “parents could not refuse the right to education of a child on the basis of the parents’ convictions, because the child has an independent right to education.”

They also referenced a German court ruling that states “the general public has a justified interest in counteracting the development of religiously or philosophically motivated ‘parallel societies’ and in integrating minorities in this area.”

In other words, the German court believes it is the duty of the government to PREVENT parents from teaching their “religiously or philosophically motivated” values to their children. Instead, by law, children must be conditioned in a government approved educational environment to accept the moral and politically correct doctrines approved by the government to prevent “parallel societies”. This means the government in Germany, which has outlawed home schooling and requires all under-age children to go to public schools or government approved private schools only – is working to stamp out any belief system that does not support the government’s vision of how a society should function. In fact, the Romeike family has had the police forcibly escort their children from their home to the government approved school. They were being threatened with having custody of their children stripped away from them before they fled to the supposed safety of the “land of liberty”. But the United States, this “shining beacon” of hope from the oppression of tyrannical government intrusion, is bent on legally changing its mind and throwing them back to the wolves.

That, my friends, is not liberty. THAT is tyranny.

Now – our AMERICAN justice system approved asylum for this family but is now trying to deport them. This sends the message that our current leadership not only supports the German vision of how children should be educated but is intent on changing our system into the same vision. Imagine your local police department showing up at your door and forcibly escorting your kids to the local public school. Imagine them threatening custody of your children because you dare to teach them the “religious and philosophical” values of your faith as opposed to Big Brother’s approved curriculum. You may think I overstate the case, but this is exactly what is happening in Germany – a country we helped rebuild after a WAR against the very social fascism our forefathers died to defeat that is now the law of that land.

We dare not allow this to become the law of our land…

There is tremendous social and legal pressure AGAINST home schooling in America today (and religious education of other sorts). Now the justice department is getting involved. It seems our government isn’t interested in supporting my right to home school my kids.

Consider the Justice department’s citation of the international court rulings I cited above…”parents could not refuse the right to education of a child on the basis of the parents’ convictions, because the child has an independent right to education.…” This implies that the justice department supports this international court ruling in reference to home schooling. It implies that if I home school my kids I’m somehow denying their independent right to an education – even though I’m teaching them reading, writing and arithmetic (and history, music, science, foreign language etc). By the way, this curriculum base does constitute an “education” – but clearly not in the view of certain government zealots. Obviously, home schooling threatens some aspect of “education” in the justice department’s view. Supporting this international court ruling and working to deport a home schooling family are evidence of this shift in our government’s thinking.

Now – It was once argued to me that as a parent I was not professionally qualified to teach my own kids. I had to point out to that person that I have a Bachelor’s degree, an Associate’s degree and I’ve held professional public school teaching credentials in three states (not to mention 30+ post baccalaureate credits in education). I have been recognized by the states that I have lived in as a qualified professional educator. In that qualification I not only am fully able to teach my own kids but I am here to say that the VAST majority of home school parents I know are by far more qualified to teach than most of my colleagues were in the public system – regardless of the degrees that may or may not hang on their living room walls. I’ve known plenty of home school parents without “qualified” teacher training who have produced highly educated students that excel BY FAR above the national average on standardized tests. The intrusion of government in this area is not only a threat to liberty it is an insult to the abilities and interests of parents.

This is beyond dangerous.

With this sort of thinking we may as well change the uniforms of our police and military into shiny RED COATS and take a step back in time. It was for PRECISELY this sort of freedom from government tyranny that the founders came to this country in the first place. The founders of the United States came here because they were NOT free to teach their CHILDREN from the Bible in England. It is politically incorrect to talk about the Pilgrims today but the truth is they gave up their homes, their livelihoods, their families and even their lives for the simple right to be able to teach the Bible to their children. THEY were home school families – and it is reasonable to argue that this entire country was founded on the right to home school our children without government approval of our curriculums. To support the deportation of this family is to trample on the graves of our founders and betray the blood they shed.

Lest you think this article is “anti-public school” let me point out that I attended public schools from kindergarten through my teacher education training. Some of my kids have attended public schools – and some have been home schooled. I was a public school educator for years. I have nothing directly against the public system as a construct (although I have much against the current of aberrant educational and social philosophy that infects the system). I’m glad a free education is available for kids of every ethnic background and social tier. I DO believe kids can go to public schools and still be taught or influenced by the religious and moral values of their parents.

But I cannot be silent over a government move that threatens the liberty of parents to decide what is in the best interest of their own children. This is government tyranny – nearly at its worst…

It is for this reason I urge you to support the effort of the Romeike’s family to experience the liberty this country was founded on and supposedly fights to protect. I urge you to do this even if you think that home school is not in the best interest of kids. You are free to believe this and put your kids in the public school system. But your freedom rests on the right for ME to home school my kids if I choose to (and my wife and I do). I urge you to twitter and facebook this issue out into the open.

Ex libris…

 

 

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Finding validation in Christ is crap! A response…

@Harley…you wrote the following yesterday… “What a pile of crap. I disrespectfully disagree. There is a point to life for non-Christians too, cousin. That post is quite narrow-minded…”

I appreciate you being up front acknowledging yourself as a “non-believer” and your willingness to accept the fact that your comments are disrespectful. I’m assuming for the purpose of this rebuttal that “non-Christian” means Atheist in your case (considering that I have known you personally in the past I don’t think “non-Christian” means you are arguing from the Mormon or Hindu point of view).

It seems to me you misunderstand the premise of my post. I am not arguing that non-Christians cannot “find a point to life” – but it IS my belief that whatever point they find will ultimately not satisfy, will not provide true validation AND will be based on a belief that is inconsistent with the non-believing world-view. This is particularly true for Atheists. People are certainly free to try and find validation in many things – every sort of endeavor, relationship and behavior – but it is my premise that all such efforts are ultimately futile. I stand by my belief that true validation can only be found in the Creator…

Now, respectfully, I began my post with the concept of “the challenge of spiritual growth.” Assuming a “non-Christian” is an Atheist, this entire concept should not apply to the non-believing crowd. At least this should be expected based on the non-believers worldview that anything supernatural is untrue. So, this post should not actually provide any interest for such a person. It would be like me giving my opinion about Carolina Crown having a better show in 2012 than Blue Devils. If you are not part of the world that believes Drum and Bugle Corps is of any particular value (or interest) such a statement shouldn’t interest you nor should it result in any visceral response. On the other hand, drum corps fans may have a wide range of passionate opinions on this subject (and for the sake of argument I DO think Crown’s show was better!). A true non-believer therefore shouldn’t care what theists believe in the first place or, at a minimum, they should at least acknowledge that their irritation is inconsistent with their worldview.

Now, of course, I am saying that only a Christian world-view provides a rational, logical BASIS for validation in existence – and this fact may be the source of your irritation. But I would ask you to consider carefully WHY that bothers you so much. On what foundation are you basing your irritation? What rational grounds do you have for your indignation? You may CHOOSE moral and ethical positions but your worldview cannot EXPLAIN why any non-material concepts such as morals, ethics or validation can have any rational basis for being invariable or true in any real sense. If you are the product of mindless, purposeless chemistry then there is no rational basis for ANY sort of moral or ethical positions. As the famous Atheist Richard Dawkins says…

“In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” (Dawkins, Richard, “The Necessity of Darwinism”, New Scientists, Vol. 94 (April 15, 1982). P. 85

Dawkins is telling us that the Atheist position explains reality as the product of mindless, purposeless chemical interaction based purely on the laws of physics and chemistry. This means that there is no purpose for existence, no meaning, no memory, no after-life, no reward or punishment. So, whatever “point” you find in life is ultimately no point at all, has no meaning, no value…just purposeless indifference…IF, that is, you remain consistent with the naturalist, non-believing worldview. So any point you find is, by the definition of the naturalist worldview, not a point at all. And don’t forget, being inconsistent with your stated worldview is a form of being irrational.

The Creationist, Theist worldview is altogether different – and that was the substance of my original post. I’m not ashamed of my world-view it, I don’t hide it and yes, it is narrow-minded. But for a theist concepts such as validation for existence, morals, ethics and logic are actually issues of truth vs error, just as 2 + 2 = 4. This addition problem is also very narrow minded. There are people who believe 2 + 2 = 5 or some other number (just ask any elementary teacher). Teachers have to correct these sorts of addition errors because addition is not an issue of opinion or feelings – it is an issue of truth. If we accept the notion that there is no such thing as real truth then concepts such as math have no meaning – and following that path of thinking everything in reality ultimately falls into absurdity. Furthermore, if we say there is no truth we have to ask “is this statement true or not.” In this fashion, using reason (which we cannot adequately explain using only naturalism) such an argument refutes itself.

Atheists are, of course, just as narrow minded. They absolutely insist there is no possibility of anything outside of nature – and you can’t prove a negative, not with logic anyway. This position is also narrow minded.

Since you’ve provided no adequate reason for your description of my position as being “crap” and your thesis that you CAN find a point in life being a non-believer is inconsistent with the naturalist worldview – I suggest reconsidering your argument. As a theist I can demonstrate that logic, reason, observations of the uniformity of immaterial concepts such as ethics and reason, the uniformity of nature, irreducible complexity, probability and a myriad of other reasonable arguments and demonstrations from science provide powerful, positive evidence for theism.

So I say, once again, that Atheists and other non-believers can attempt to find validation in things or people other than the Creator but this effort is ultimately futile. True validation can only be found in the Creator.

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The Abortion Case Of Kermit Gosnell

Kermit Gosnell, age 72, was convicted on Monday May 13, 2013 of first degree murder. He was found guilty of killing three newborn babies with a pair of scissors but testimony in court made it clear that his actions better fit the profile of a serial killer than that of a doctor.

Let me explain…

Serial killers are responsible for the deaths of more than two people and usually “specialize” in a certain type of victim. They also tend to keep trophies of their conquests and seem beyond a conscience. Like a serial killer, Gosnell was known to have kept jars of severed body parts in his clinic. Testimony shows he made dehumanizing comments about his victims describing one child he aborted as big enough to “walk to the bus”. In addition, Gosnell profited from the deaths of these children and made millions of dollars in “medical fees” and fraudulent prescription drug trafficking. All of these facts paint the picture of a drug dealing serial killer rather than a doctor specializing in “women’s health care.”

But unfortunately, in America today, Gosnell wouldn’t have been convicted of murder had these children simply had their hearts stopped before being delivered. If that had been the case he would have been hailed a hero, a “pioneering doctor” specializing in late term solutions to unwanted pregnancies for minority and poverty challenged women. This is how Gosnell characterized himself in a 2010 interview.

The jury felt differently.

But I wonder what “we the people” should take from this case? What does the Gosnell case tell us about our own culture?

What the Gosnell story really does is pull back the curtain on a worldview that cheapens human life into a hodgepodge of opinion, convenience and emotion. It takes away the shiny veneer of clean clinics with white robed doctors. This modern worldview of choice tosses around emotionally gratifying sound-bites that steer far from snipping spinal cords and dismembered human body parts. What the Gosnell saga does is pull away the pretense of a women’s right to choose – a sound-bite that sounds so reasonable and fair – to demonstrate for everyone to see what abortion is in all its blood stained reality.

Of course, both Pro-choice and Pro-life advocates have each tried to spin the story to their advantage. The editorial you are now reading is a case in point – while it is true that Gosnell was convicted of first degree murder, my opening paragraphs intentionally use language to accent the pro-life point of view painting Gosnell as a serial killer. A pro-life reader will likely affirm that characterization, but a pro-choice reader will likely have a very different reaction.

Consider this statement from Planned Parenthood spokesman Eric Ferrero: “This verdict will ensure that no woman is victimized by Kermit Gosnell ever again. This case has made clear that we must have and enforce laws that protect access to safe and legal abortion, and we must reject misguided laws that would limit women’s options and force them to seek treatment from criminals like Kermit Gosnell.”[i]

So – Planned Parenthood cannot ignore the shocking truth about Gosnell’s clinic. Gosnell’s abortion clinic was filled with jars of severed infant feet, blood stained furniture and gruesome testimony about “snipping the spinal cords” of babies born alive. Instead of pretending these horrors didn’t happen, Planned Parenthood simply tries to spin the story as yet another reason women need “safe and legal” abortion.

But what makes the abortion procedure itself any LESS horrific just because it’s performed in a “safe and legal” setting?

Honestly – do “safe and legal” abortion clinics do anything less than Gosnell? After all, prior to about 24 weeks gestation “safe and legal” abortion clinics uses a bladed instrument to literally tear the human infant into pieces which are then vacuumed into a jar. Gosnell kept his jars of dismembered body parts – but Planned Parenthood simply disposes of its jars and the result is the same. Gosnell’s clinic had blood stained furniture – but Planned Parenthood cleans its stirrups and patient tables better. So what’s the difference? How is “safe and legal” any better just because it’s a nice sound-bite?

Gosnell also specialized in late term abortions but he “botched” them so that the babies were born alive. This is how he crossed the line. But why is it a “botched” procedure when a baby is born alive? Answer: because the goal of the whole procedure is to terminate a pregnancy (a nice sound-bite that can be translated “the goal of the whole procedure is a dead baby”!)

So how would a “safe and legal” late term abortion be anything less barbaric than what Gosnell did? Consider how a partial birth abortion is performed in a “safe and legal setting” – a medical worker uses drugs to first dilate the cervix (I intentionally hesitate to use the word “doctor” for such a procedure). Using an ultrasound, the worker then uses an instrument to grasp the baby’s leg and pull the child into a “breech” position. The legs are pulled into the birth canal but the head remains inside the uterus. A hole is then cut at the base of the baby’s head; the hole is widened to admit a suction instrument which then removes the brain causing the skull to collapse and the “fetus” is then removed down the birth canal.

Yeah – the word “fetus” and the “safe and legal” sound-bites are somehow supposed to make this all better!

Of course at this point the emotional objections rend the air in all their violated fury – “You anti-abortion people don’t care about the plight of poor women. You don’t care about the medical needs of teenage victims of incest and rape. You don’t care about the horror of unwanted or abused children.”

We certainly do care about these issues – but our solution isn’t to kill the children.

You see, we also care about the stories we have heard on countless occasions of the psychological and, dare I say, spiritual destruction women have experienced who have had abortions. They bought into the culture which told them their unwanted pregnancy wasn’t fully human, was just developing tissue or wouldn’t feel pain. They submitted to the procedure only to find themselves decimated, alone, horrified and haunted by their choice. As a minister I’ve been called upon to help these damaged souls find forgiveness, healing and comfort in our faith. It is tragic and heart breaking – a story Planned Parenthood doesn’t want you to hear because, like Gosnell, they make millions from “safely and legally” performing abortions.

The truth is there are always going to be social challenges in any society but it is dangerous to submit to the worldview that social problems are best solved by the “safe and legal” termination of human life. Where will it end? Partial birth abortions are banned in the United States today – but laws can be changed.

In fact, without the standard that human life is sacred at every stage of life (from conception to old age) the opinions, conveniences and emotions of the majority can transform in the blink of an election. Those who know history can attest to this truth.

The opinions and emotions of the majority in Germany during the Nazi era led to legally defining certain groups, including the Jewish people, the mentally retarded and others as “sub-human”. The truth is there can be no doubt that Hitler and the Nazi’s used legal and scientific arguments to justify the murder of millions.[ii] In fact, the Nazi’s legally euthanized tens of thousands of mentally retarded children in “safe and legal” hospitals long before the actual holocaust began.

But this dangerous idea isn’t confined to some dark chapter of Nazi history. It is creeping back into western thinking at an alarming rate.

For example, today in the Netherlands, voluntary Euthanasia (Doctor assisted suicide) is already legal for anyone 12 years and older. The Netherlands is also the home of the “Groningen protocol”. The protocol allows for doctors, in a committee and with parental consent, to end the life of a seriously ill newborn baby.[iii] The Groningen protocol has already been followed at least twenty times and it is nothing short of Gosnell’s actions in more medically sanitized clothes.

So – how long will it be before opinions, convenience and emotions will change to legally define the mentally retarded, the disabled and the elderly as only “potentially human?” Hopefully, the Gosnell case will pull back the veil on this procedure so far that voters and activists will be compelled all the more to press for the protection of every human life.

In the meantime, Gosnell agreed to a plea bargain. He will spend the rest of his life behind bars and will avoid the death penalty. None of his victims were able to make a bargain for their lives. We would do well to remember them…and their 55 million siblings who have died since 1973.

Salutant Ad Vitem…

Patrick C Marks is the author of the suspense novel “Legend” (Kindle price $1.99, http://amzn.to/uwHATL), a Christian apologetics, non-fiction book about evolution and creation called “Someone’s Making a Monkey Out of You” (Kindle price $2.99, hard copy $15.95, http://amzn.to/snubN1) and a humerous short story called “The Far Frigid North” (kindle price $.99, http://goo.gl/OhzWQ). He is also a husband, father, pastor, and a poor excuse for an oil painter – but he likes getting his fingers colorful anyway.


[ii] Morris et al. The Modern Creation Trilogy, vol 3. Master Books 1996, P. 90. “Eventually, in the eyes of Nazi evolutionary scientists, those “unfit to live” came to include not only people who were mentally ill or physically handicapped, but also Jews, Negroes, gypsies, and any others who did not have “pure” Teutonic genealogies. All of this was considered to be in the ultimate interest of the evolutionary advance of – as Darwin had put it – “the preservation of favored races in the struggle for life.” Hitler continually emphasized this concept of evolutionistic struggle in his own writings. In fact, the very title of his definitive book, Mein Kampf, meant “My Struggle.” Hitler and his Nazis were the true evolutionists, in the fullest sense.”

[iii] Jim Holt, The New York Times, July 10, 2005. Euthanasia for babies? Accessed 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/10/magazine/10WWLN.html?pagewanted=all.  “Two physicians practicing in the Netherlands, the very heart of civilized Europe, this spring published in The New England Journal of Medicine a set of guidelines for what they called infant ”euthanasia.” The authors named their guidelines the Groningen protocol, after the city where they work. One of the physicians, Dr. Eduard Verhagen, has admitted to presiding over the killing of four babies in the last three years, by means of a lethal intravenous drip of morphine and midazolam (a sleeping agent).”

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