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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.

Reflections

Modern thinking. Modern writing. Oh I would love to see an area in which there is more cause to rebel than these. Beliefs without cause run rampant under the banner of “free thinking” while these brilliant minds look down their noses at those who dare infuse opinion with reason. What a tragedy it is that one might not be so caged as to have convictions as to the weight one’s words must hold!This lesson is taught everyday, and taught to the most dangerous of minds. The premise that your opinion is the ultimate truth, regardless of how unfounded, will be the demoralization of this nation; and it is being preached on every street corner, every bookstore, through every television set, and in one form or another in the majority of our classrooms. The dangerous minds that are swallowing this fallacy whole are none other than the next generation of America: our adolescents.

When assigned to write a letter to the President of the United States, in scarcely a heartbeat I knew what I would be writing about: homosexual marriage. My class was barely being introduced to the format of the letter when I was forming sentences in my mind concerning this issue, conjuring up the most powerful words in my vocabulary, and scratching out brief notes on my paper so as not to forget to do research. I was wholly inside my own mind as the class was throwing out possible topics for the assignment; thankfully, one voice brought me crashing back down into my seat. The subject of stem-cell research, and it’s need to be more widely funded, was introduced.

Every previous thought I had crafted about what my letter would turn out to be was completely annihilated. I do not believe my mind has been more set on doing something well than it was right then. I have always had a particularly heated passion for the subject of abortion and other closely related topics. Unknowingly, this person had started a fire in me; I was absolutely itching to stand behind the classroom podium and defend those who cannot defend themselves.

It took three hours total before I was happy with the final product of my letter. Admittedly, if I had not at the same time been holding several discussions on AIM,  listening to my music, and answering my phone, it may have not taken such a length of time. (Yes, I’m a fifteen-year old girl.) However, I took care that my soul was poured into this paper. I purposefully put my heart on my sleeve, and the passion I had while writing, at least I feel, is evident within it.

I was burning alive to read the letter to the class, particularly since I was not the only person to write concerning the topic of stem-cell research (interestingly, I was the only one to write against it). I do not become nervous when speaking to groups of people. However, having to read my own words, especially words that were so near and dear to my heart, left a lump in my throat and the need to take a deep breath along with a small pep talk inside my head before I commenced. I desired more than ever to pull those around me out of the drowsy stupor most students live in while attending school and make them listen.  Thankfully, every shaky word I feared I would expel was completely absorbed in the fervor I had for getting my message across to the class and hopefully striking a chord that these previously indoctrinated minds would remember.

I cannot say that I was not desperately upset when I received no credit for my paper. I was confused, to put it mildly. I wore the facade that I was handling this with a straight back quite well until I was given a quiet moment to myself and I could finally hold it up no more. I confess that in 6th hour I slipped into a silent reverie, tears pricking at my eyes. What did I do wrong? Perhaps I did the assignment wrong. Maybe it was me…maybe I wrote a terrible paper…but no, I checked and re-checked my letter. I read it again and again. I checked my sources. Why was my letter worth zero?

After a few meetings with administration, I found out that my error was in expending too much effort. There was too much work and too much thought put into this assignment. This is not a sophomore level paper and hence, it deserves no credit. I should rewrite my letter (for 75% credit) with only my opinion. I should strip it and leave it simply at “this is what I believe” minus “and this is why.” Because obviously, dear teenager, you live in a time when you need not substantiate anything you believe, so please, take full advantage.

It did not take any extra thought to leave the proposal on the table that I write lesser of a letter for less credit. Eventually, I was offered a chance to rewrite my letter for full credit. With my 4.0 in jeopardy, I bounced one thought around in my head: how many ways can I say “no”?

At this point, I sincerely hope you wonder where my heart is. Am I simply being stubborn? Stubborn, perhaps; but it has not been simple. Do I like confrontation? Let me be the first to assure you that I do not. My refusal to rewrite this letter is simply because I cannot. Asking me to rewrite this letter, a letter that is so controversial in its very nature whether or not I back up my statements, is asking me to change my entire world-view. It is never okay to have an opinion without reason, and I refuse to do so simply for a grade. If I am going to write so passionately on a subject, I certainly would hope that my word would not so easily be taken and swallowed just because I believe it to be true.  I am not so high as to believe that my word is truth based solely on the fact that I wish it to be true. I am a fallible creature. Would you not want me to give reasons for my beliefs?

I suppose I have acquired a few valuable lessons during the course of this situation. Besides the way modern America thinks is absolutely insane; it is no longer important to add reason to thought. Throw it out the window, ladies and gents, because whatever you want to be true is true.

As for me, I will not budge; perhaps I will take a beating for it. Well then, it is my honor. I would encourage anyone who may be put in my position to keep your chin level with the ground. The break in the bend comes from not having the courage to say “here I stand, I can do no other.” A simple statement, yes, but a powerful one. It is my prayer that I do not speak only for myself when I say I prefer my grade to be in jeopardy over my faith.

We are the dangerous minds of America. We are the vulnerable, and we hold the future. I would absolutely love to be the most dangerous by challenging the core of backward thinking. I desire to contend for the faith, and always be ready to answer everyone who asks me about the hope that I have.

—Summer White

This Letter Failed

Letter to the President

  1. The letter should be personal.
  2. It should not attack or criticize the President.
  3. The letter should discuss something you wish improved.
  4. It should follow a business letter format.
  5. Paragraph 1 should begin with “I am concerned about….”
  6. Paragraph 2 should involve the first reason.  It should be about seven sentences.  Provide an example for evidence.
  7. Paragraph 3 should involve your second reason.  Ditto #6.
  8. Paragraph 4 must begin with the word “If.”
  9. The last paragraph should thank the President for taking the time to read your letter as you know how busy he is.  You are also hopeful for a response.
  10. Respectful and sincere ending.

Summer White
1234 W. Calvin Lane
Phoenix, AZ 85067

President Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

            I am very concerned regarding the issue of stem cell research and it’s future in America. This highly controversial issue is in dire need of decisive action to settle the dispute in order to save the lives of thousands. As Collen Paro, the spokesperson for the Republican National Coalition for life stated, “We do not believe that human beings should ever be sacrificed for the benefit of another. We thought we left that at Nuremburg 50 years ago.” We, as Americans, must take back the respect we once had for human life that has been utterly and disturbingly adulterated in the past few decades. Our need for absolution concerning this topic directly correlates to the urgency with which it must be treated. Once that respect has been regained, matters such as abortion, partial-birth abortion, and cloning will come to a final conclusion.

            The use of stem cells is a fairly new scientific advance that has proved of benefit to those who have used it, and has augmented their life spans greatly. A cursory glance at the outcome of these new methods of curing disease would certainly cause one to extol this new advance and desire to see this treatment used throughout the world. However, fundamental questions must first be answered: what is a stem cell and where does it come from? The answer to the former is straightforward and simple. A stem cell is a primitive form of a cell that may adapt and change to form into cells that can cure diseases such as Lou Gherig’s, Parkinson’s, and Leukemia.  Every living person has stem cells in their bodies. The problem with the use of stem cells and the research that is currently being done on them is that scientists are using human embryos to extract the stem cells because attaining stem cells from adults is said to be too long and hard of a process.  According to scientists, in some clinics the embryos are kept alive “in liquid nitrogen indefinitely—or at least until an operator error or equipment malfunction kills them.”  I find it disgusting, sickening, and absurd that scientists today are more willing  to kill an embryo and dissect it than to spend more time on a quick, painless, and life-sparing process such as extracting the cells from adults. Those same scientists would probably claim that an embryo is not a human life. In that case, I would ask why one would use terms such as “keep the embryos alive” and “kills” in reference to them? Can not only living things be alive? And cannot only living things die? Charley Reese states, “…it is ridiculous for people who have already decided that it is moral to kill babies in the womb to show some squeamishness about destroying human embryos in a petri dish. Hell, man, once you decide to become a child-killer, their ages no longer matter.” A human embryo is human; and it is still alive. Age is not what makes us human. Growth stage is not what constitutes a human being. Who are we to play God and decide who will die so that another may live? A disabled woman speaking to congress says it best: “Do I want to see again? Dance again? Hear like I once did? I do not want those things at the cost of any living person and I consider live embryos to be people.”

            One other issue that concerns me regarding the use of embryos in stem cell research is the flood of money that will go into abortion clinics. If allowed, the use of stem cells from embryos will create a surplus in the need for human embryos, requiring the cooperation of clinics such as Planned Parenthood to supply these embryos. This will generate a colossal upsurge in the use of abortion clinics, resulting in a holocaust of the womb. We must not let our country retrogress into the disrespect and hatred for human life that abortion teaches to our children. The very moral foundation of our country is in jeopardy if no one is safe, not even defenseless and frail in the mother’s womb. The woman’s so-called “right to choose” is no more than a right to murder. We must scrutinize how we are living our lives if we cannot even stay out of bed long enough at the age of fourteen to keep from getting pregnant.

            If the use of embryos in stem cell research is not banned, I fear greatly for the future of our nation. The use of stem cells is a wonderful scientific breakthrough, and I approve of the use of stem cells from adults to save the lives of those with terrible, life changing diseases. However, I can never approve of the murder and waste of thousands upon thousands of human embryos. “The scientific literature overwhelmingly demonstrates that adult stem cells are already fulfilling the goals only hoped for with embryonic stem cells, making the destruction of human embryos unjustifiable,” stated one biochemist. I sincerely hope that those involved in this heartbreaking controversy will come to a final conclusion and contribute to the bettering of this nation.

            Thank you for reading my humble letter. I understand you are very busy and this is only one matter that is on the plate before you. I pray that you have an opportunity to respond, and would greatly appreciated it if you do.

            America deserves you.

                                                                                    Respectfully,

                                                                                    Summer White