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My Dad Debates Roman Catholics – by Summer White – Vintage

When I, my mom, brother, Escobedo family, and Jason Naut, drove to California early Friday morning the reason for my excitement was because the next day we would hopefully be in Knott’s Berry Farm.  That night we would be attending a debate between my father and Mr. Staples.  I was looking forward to it, of course, but I was more excited about being dropped at rapid speeds from 30 stories in the air on Supreme Scream.  But, honestly, that night was not what I expected at all.

When I sat down at the debate, I decided to introduce myself to the girl sitting next to me.  I shook her hand and said, “Hi, my name is Summer White,” and her expression was as if I had turned into a heffalump right in front of her.  She leaned over the person next to her, then that person looked down at me the same way she had, and on and on down the line everyone gave me that look.  That was my first introduction to Roman Catholics at the debate. 

Mr. Staples started off the debate with an argument on Matthew chapter 16 verses 17 and 18.  A normal argument of the Catholic faith about that subject, I guess, but the topic was on papal infallibility, as my father was soon to point out in his opening argument. 

The crowd was very upset when my dad informed them Mr. Staples was not sticking with the topic.  It seemed as though they were ready to start a riot at the drop of a hat. 

My dad’s opening argument was like a history lesson, and it was something every catholic in that room needed to hear.  Sometimes I had trouble understanding what my father was saying, but that did not make it boring.  When his time was up, I wasted no time in standing and applauding, and letting everyone know, that’s my daddy! 

Of course, in the 15-minute rebuttal period Mr. Staples was lost for words.  His hands were shaking.  He mumbled, and tripped on his words a lot. 

As my dad began his rebuttal period I leaned over to Abigail Escobedo and whispered, “This is it.  This debate is over.”   She looked at me questioningly, but all I did was nod.  My father told me what he was going to say, and I just couldn’t wait.  At the end of his 15 minutes dad pointed out that in some catholic documents Alexander said that a laymen, which is what Mr. Staples is, is not to engage in a public discussion of issues with a heretic, which is how they classify my dad.  He added that either Mr. Staples will end the debate right then, or he will say that rule is no longer in play. 

During the 15 minutes break, my best friend, Angelique Escobedo, and I talked to a nice girl on the other side of Abigail. I think she said she used to be Catholic but converted, and now she enjoys my dad’s work. 

The crowd here was much more aggressive than anyone expected, especially during the Q and A section.  Half of that time was taken up by the incessant clapping, cheering, and, of course, booing.  Mr. Staples did not follow the rules, but kept on giving little sermons with each of his questions, instead of short question, short answer, so on. 

After, there were questions asked by the audience.  99% of the questions asked were for my dad; I believe two were aimed at Mr. Staples. 

Over all, I believe that the debate was very, interesting, and extremely influential in the minds of a lot of Roman Catholics in the audience.  I sure know a lot more about the Roman Catholic faith, and I hope to attend another debate with a Roman Catholic. 

And Then I Got Punched in the Worldview

   In an exercise of which 20-something year olds can say the darndest things, my worldview sustained a heavy blow. For a reason which I cannot expound upon because it is just too scholastic for me, my class was asked to shout out whatever ideas come to mind when thinking about a Republican or a Democrat. You know, the typical thing you think of when you think of a Republican. What we came up with for Republicans is, and I quote, “Truck-driving, confederate flag waving, racist, sexist backwoods hicks.” The cherry on top is that they are also homophobes who support the death penalty, but not abortion!

   It was almost astonishing, the reaction to the revelation that Republicans prefer to kill criminals and not babies. At first I was astonished, and then I was nervous. “Can you believe it?” One girl asked. “They are such hypocrites. Let’s kill people not fetuses!” I giggled, albeit nervously, before I was able to try to respond.

   This girl and I are operating on such opposing worldviews that we can look at one situation and get two wildly different conclusions. But, really, in her defense, by what standard could she possibly measure what is right or wrong other than whatever she decides to think? I attempted to point out that over and over in the Old Testament, God’s law put certain criminals to death, and among those laws is Exodus 21:23, which requires that someone who causes a child to be miscarried must pay “life for life.” It is upon this basis that the “conservative” view stems from. Although I am left to wonder, wouldn’t simple logic tell us that it is the innocent—and not those found guilty—that should be protected? I guess I’ll just have to leave that battle for another day.

   Next I was informed that abortion rates skyrocket during Republican presidencies because conservatives do not support selling birth control at gas stations, grocery stores, and for free in your high school’s nurses office! Unfortunately for my dear liberal comrade, this is a myth that was repeated so often by nutcases for the past five years that it was forced to be debunked over and over and over and over and over again. At this point, its just willful mud-slinging to even assert such ridiculousness, as even Planned Parenthood affiliates have looked into the claim and found it to be false, even crediting Republican presidents for lowering abortion rates.

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The Face of Apologetics

   The face of apologetics is changing (I should know, I’ve watched Dr. White’s beard grow with my own two eyes). As a generation that is being taught it is impossible to know anything for certain, one of the most recent attacks upon Christianity has been launched, packaged, and peddled to my peers brilliantly.If you are unaware of the movie Zeitgeist, you need to become aware; it is spreading like the plague on the internet, YouTube, and across college campuses, and it will challenge your beliefs in an entirely new way. Although its attack is weak, and very few accredited scholars in the area of mythology or history would vouch for its credibility in any way,its simplicity and eagerness to destroy the God of the Bible has begun to romance far too many of my acquaintances.
   The premise is simple, and far from new: the Bible is a conglomeration of plagiarized myths that pagans had already come up with ages before Christ.I would beg Christians to not dismiss this absurd assertion. It isgoing to be a field in which Christians are going to be forced to be knowledgeable of within the next few years because it is the grounds upon which colleges and “academics” today will turn a blind ear to a good witness. We must understand that the arguments found in Zeitgeist, to the unschooled and the unbelieving, are extremely convincing.
   For example, the movie asserts that:

Mithra, of Persia, born of a virgin on December 25th, he had 12 disciples and performed miracles, and upon his death was buried for 3 days and thus resurrected, he was also referred to as “The Truth,” “The Light,” and many others. Interestingly, the sacred day of worship of Mithra was Sunday.

   This is a very shiny assertion, and, for the ignorant, probably a very convincing one. However, unless one believes that rocks can be virgins, this is an outright lie. In the story of Mithras, he is born from a rock, fully grown, naked, and holding a dagger, torch, or globe, depending on which version of the story you read.
   Secondly, despite how often it is asserted that the pagan celebration of December 25th preceded the Christian use of the date, the historical evidence is not so clear. What we know about Mithraism comes from after the time of Christ, and there is good reason to believe it was the Mithra story that was borrowing from Christianity, not the other way around. Who is more likely to be willing to borrow from someone else: a mystery religion lacking any kind of bedrock theology, or the Christian faith with its very historical, dogmatic, and Jewish roots?
   Thirdly, the myth of Mithras does not say that he was a teacher with disciples, but that he was a god. He would have had more than 12 followers, and “miracles” or supernatural acts are implied when referring to gods, so that being a parallel, or even an act of “plagiarism” on the Bible’s part is quite a stretch…and a little shady.
   As for Mithras’s supposed death and resurrection, no textual evidence exists. Zeitgeist forgets that Mithraism was a secret religion that gained popularity largely in the second and third century AD. Their secret meetings were held mostly in caves and are rarely discussed without being labeled as “demonic.” Richard Gordon, who received his PHD on the topic of Mithraism in the Roman Empire points out in Image and Value in the Greco-Roman Worldthat there is no record of Mithras ever dying, thus negating the possibility of resurrection.
   Many scholars suggest that Mithras being referred to as “the Truth” or the “Light” would be a serious act of borrowing fromthe Christian scriptures, not the other way around.
   Zeitgeist takes a great deal of time to twist the myth of Horus, the god of the sun, into the story of Jesus, pointing out that Horus exemplifies goodness and light, and his enemy, the god of the night named Set, represents darkness. The assertion is that Christianity stole this idea and created Jesus versus Satan. One may kindly suggest in response to this ridiculous idea that maybe the ancient Egyptians were pagans and had to come up with some way to explain why bad things happened, and why the sun rose and set every night. Nowhere in the story of Horus is there redemption of a special people or atonement through the sacrifice of the Son of God. If anything, the story ofHorus is a sad commentary on pagan religions and their need to create their own gods, as close to the true Creator as possible, minus the acknowledgment of His singularity and holiness.
Zeitgeist goes on to mention Attis and Dionysus:

   Attis, of Phyrigia, born of the virgin Nana on December 25th, crucified, placed in a tomb and after 3 days, was resurrected.
   Dionysus of Greece, born of a virgin on December 25th, was a traveling teacher who performed miracles such as turning water into wine, he was referred to as the ‘King of Kings,’ ‘God’s Only Begotten Son,’ ‘The Alpha and Omega,’ and many others, and upon his death, he was resurrected.

   Once again, the story of Jesus is being read into these stories. In the myth of Attis, he got love-sick and castrated himself and died. The part of the story where he is resurrected does not occur in the literature until AD 150. As for the “resurrection” of Dionysus, none has ever been found—unless you want to try to connect his being birthed out of the thigh of Zeus a “resurrection.” The alleged stories of gods dying and rising again have nothing to do with the salvation of the world, or bringing peace; they are stories of the cycles of vegetation, used to teach young children whose entire lives would depend on whether or not their family could raise and sell crops. What a monument to our day and age when we have more information available to us than anyone in the history of the world and yet we can be so ignorant of simple history. And need we point out again that the insertion of the date of December 25th is a-historical and just a bit of an over-kill?
   Wherever these people are getting their information, it’s not from scholars, history, or historical texts. To quote the movie directly:

You would think that a guy who rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven for all eyes to see and performed the wealth of miracles acclaimed to him would have made it into the historical record. It didn’t because once the evidence is weighed, there are very high odds that the figure known as Jesus, did not even exist.

Zeitgeist is truly an offensive work of fiction, if not a complete joke on a scholarly level. Ironic, then, that it will be your college campuses and your professor’s classrooms that these inane, baseless assertions will be force-fed to you. Be prepared as possible. God has given you the tools. Know your enemy. Light up the darkness.

Further reading from the A&O webstore.

On Seeing the Hand of God

   I have absolutely zero math skill. Watching me attempt to do the simplest of addition in my head has caused pain to many. It is this pitfall that forced me to sign up for the only lab my college offered that did not have some sort of ridiculous math prerequisite, a class called “Bones, Stones, and Human Evolution.” I had little reservation about taking the class, something that many of my peers, knowledgeable of my worldview, had a hard time understanding.
   Being a three hour class, we were allowed a ten minute break and it was during this break that I engaged the boy who had been sitting in front of me in a conversation. When he asked me why I was taking the class I explained my math “issue” and added that I do not believe in evolution. “So why are you taking the class?” he asked again.
   It seems simple to me. I know what I believe and why I believe it. What I believe demands of me that I be “salt and light.” Knowing what to expect when attempting to light up the darkness seems like such an obvious conclusion. I told him that it is important to me to know what the opponents of God’s Word are saying. He seemed to accept my explanation, as well as being a little put-off by it. After a few moments spent in thought he said, “Well, we’ll see if you change your mind by the end of the semester.”
   I mention this brief conversation only because this man’s question to me over a large table in the library shared by many of our other classmates who were all sharing notes shortly before the final several months later stunned me almost as much as I had stunned him several months earlier. It was such a disappointing class to me; none of the explanations we were given in class for the origin of life were satisfactory; not once was it demonstrated how one species leads into another, although variation within species was covered exhaustively; seven times the professor’s answer to some of my more difficult questions was “It just did.” Do not even get me started on the fact that college students are still being fed the English Pepper Moth Fable, despite the fact that it was a complete fraud, discovered years ago, and even acknowledged by The New York Times in 2005 as such! What a sad day it is when the Times is reporting the truth on a subject that our schools and textbooks refuse to acknowledge.
   With all of this in mind, and my faith only having been reinforced over and over again throughout the passing months the more I became familiar with the elitists explanation for the world around us, I stuttered for a few moments when my classmate asked me, “So, do you still believe in God after all of this?”
   His question had diverted my attention from an article in National Geographic we had been asked to read. It was an article about bipedalism (the ability to walk on two legs) and how it is bipedalism, combined with our large brains, that makes us the dominant species. As a Christian, and a person who believes that we are made in His image, the article was more than offensive and just below nauseating. However, God was in every page of that article. Several times throughout, the authors had no other choice but to employ the word “design” to describe the mechanisms by which we walk upright, and they made sure the offensive word was in quotes. The complexity of our bodies and what must be in place in order for us to do something as simple as walk upright, give birth, and use our limbs was striking. As much as it was clear the authors attempted to avoid the nasty talk of “design,” it was more than inevitable: it was all they could do.
   His question stopped everyone at the table from what they were doing. My impatience flared for a moment. How many times throughout the semester had I engaged he and several others in conversations in which they could only walk away? Had I not demonstrated that the more I learned about evolution, the more I saw God’s design?
   A large picture of a monkey walking on a treadmill stared up at me and a bible passage that Mike Porter had me memorize so many years ago went through my head: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through that which has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1: 20-21.
   I kept my answer to my peers short and sweet. God used that class to help me see His almighty hand everywhere.
   In the minds of many, the issue of whether or not Neo-Darwinian Evolution is the explanation for the origin of life is settled, whether or not many of their strong points (such as the English Pepper Moth, the Piltdown Man, and Haeckel’s embryo drawings) are complete and utter frauds.
   My encouragement to Christians, and especially those of you who are college students and who will most certainly face ridicule for going against “academia,” is that there are much worse things in the world that can happen to you than being ridiculed, but there is nothing better in the world that can happen to you than being used as a tool to the glory of God.
   Light up the darkness.