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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Sued for Discriminating Against Intelligent Design Proponent

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 24, 2010

Supervisors at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory illegally harassed, demoted and humiliated a computer specialist and high-level system administrator for his beliefs about intelligent design, according to a lawsuit filed in California Superior Court.

David Coppedge is an information technology specialist and system administrator on JPL’s international Cassini mission to Saturn, the most ambitious interplanetary exploration ever launched. A division of California Institute of Technology, JPL operates under a contract with the federal space agency. Coppedge held the title of “Team Lead” System Administrator on the mission until his supervisors demoted and humiliated him for advancing ideas that superiors labeled “unwelcome” and “disruptive.”

Intrigued by scientific research that raises questions about Darwinian explanations of life’s history, Coppedge would offer DVDs to coworkers exploring the case for intelligent design in cosmology and biology. Coppedge’s supervisor alleged that he received complaints about the DVDs from colleagues of Coppedge that he refused to identify. In 2009, this supervisor first angrily harassed Coppedge, claiming that “intelligent design is religion” and that Coppedge’s sharing of these DVDs with co-workers amounted to “pushing religion.”   After Coppedge complained about this harassment, the supervisor retaliated by getting JPL to launch an investigation of Coppedge, which resulted in harassment charges against Coppedge and severe limitations upon Coppedge’s free speech rights to talk about intelligent design.  Coppedge was targeted for investigation and punishment despite the fact that other JPL employees are allowed to express a wide variety of views in the workplace, and despite the fact that other supervisors eventually admitted they had never received a single complaint regarding Coppedge’s conversations about intelligent design prior to their investigation.  In gross violation of JPL internal procedures and the principles of due process, Coppedge was kept in the dark about the nature of JPL’s investigation, only being informed after the fact of the accusations against him, the investigation procedures, and the verdict at a final meeting in which he was demoted and threatened with losing his job if he persisted in purportedly “unwelcome” and “disruptive” discussions of intelligent design.  Given that Coppedge maintains he was never pushy and never raised the topic of intelligent design if a co-worker indicated they were not interested, this effectively silenced his ability to discuss intelligent design at the workplace.  To this day, Coppedge has yet to be informed of the identities of his alleged accusers or even of the specifics of any of their complaints so that he might have the opportunity to rebut them.

Coppedge is represented in the action by Los Angeles First Amendment attorney William J. Becker, Jr., of The Becker Law Firm.

Courtesy of http://www.discovery.org/a/14511

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Tiananmen Square Leader Chai Ling Embraces Christian Faith and Freedom

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 23, 2010

BOSTON, April 22 /Christian Newswire/ — More than 20 years ago, a young woman named Chai Ling mourned the death of political and economic reformer Hu Yaobang, a symbol of freedom and hope for the forward-thinking students of China. Hu’s funeral, held on April 22, 1989 seven days after his death, was attended by 50,000 students.

Chai Ling, then a 23-year-old top-ranking national honors student at “Bei Shi Da” Beijing Normal University, became a galvanizing force in the Tiananmen Square Student Movement, rallying thousands of hopeful students, and later becoming the top leader of the protest movement. Following the bloody Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4, 1989, Chai Ling skyrocketed to a place on the “21 most-wanted” students list in China for organizing the demonstration. With the help of Chinese Buddhists and Hong-Kong organizations, she escaped from China in 1990, eventually arriving in the United States.

Following her immigration to the U.S., Chai Ling settled in Boston, MA, where she met and married her husband Robert Maginn, Jr. Together, they built the software company Jenzabar, which now employs more than 280 employees. Chai Ling earned her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1998, and has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize. She has used her success to give back to the marginalized in China, helping fund orphanages and humanitarian efforts in-country. Last year, she pledged to give millions to fund organizations supporting human rights in China.

“I stumbled on this idea that if only I could become a very successful entrepreneur, like Bill Gates, I could make lots money and set up a giant foundation, then I could once for all overcome and free China,” Chai Ling said. Despite her fruitful actions, she began to lose hope, feeling too weak to accomplish her goal of bringing freedom to China.

In November 2009, Chai Ling attended a hearing in the U.S. Capitol on the effects of China’s One Child Policy. On hearing the personal story of one woman’s brutal forced abortion, Chai Ling was finally convicted that only God could stop such brutality. Through the encouragement and prayers of several mentors and friends, Chai Ling became a Christian on December 4, 2009.

Chai Ling’s goal of freedom and hope for the Chinese people has not changed since her days as a student. But her perspective and focus is fresh and renewed. She now has hope for bringing God’s love and freedom to the people of China, as well as raising awareness of and fighting against the One Child Policy. At her baptism on Easter, April 4, Chai Ling presented her testimony. Her story is a rousing testament to the transformational power of the Gospel, and the hope of Christ in a broken and sinful world.

Read Chai Ling’s testimony

Read more background on Chai Ling

Chinese Premier Offers a Tribute to a Reformer

Chuck Colson on The Tiananmen Massacre

As the memorial of Tiananmen Square approaches, ChinaAid expresses gratitude for a Chai Ling’s life and testimony, and for the thousands of Chinese who have become Christians in recent years. We encourage Chai Ling and other advocates to continue raising awareness of the evils of China’s One Child Policy and to pursue religious freedom as their basic human right.

See the article at ChinaAid.org

ChinaAid grants permission to reproduce photos and/or information for non-fundraising purposes, with the provision that www.ChinaAid.org is credited. Please contact: Annee@ChinaAid.org for further information.

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How Should A Christian Handle a Legal Problem? Faith and the Law TV Show

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 18, 2010

Watch our Faith and the Law TV Show aired on WHMB Channel 40 on YouTube on the topic of “How Should a Christian Handle a Legal Problem? We also air during the show segments on Hot Legal News, Top 5 list on “Why being an Atheist is not all it is Cracked up to Be” and a Christian music video.

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West Virginia Governor Calls for Moment of Silence for Miners

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on April 13, 2010

The governor of West Virginia is asking people across the nation to join in a moment of silence Monday afternoon to honor the 29 men who were killed last Monday in the worst U.S. mining disaster since 1972.

At 3:30 p.m. ET on Monday, Gov. Joe Manchin and First Lady Gayle Manchin will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of the miners involved in last week’s mine disaster as efforts to recover the remaining bodies continue.

“We want to show the miners’ families and all of the first responders that we are keeping them in our hearts and prayers,” Manchin stated in an announcement. “West Virginians are the most caring people and we come together in a time of need. These families are not alone and their loved ones will not be forgotten.”

Last Monday, a huge underground explosion blamed on methane gas rocked Massey Energy Co.’s Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, W.Va., as a total of 31 miners were in the area during a shift change.

Only two were saved.

On Sunday, churches in and around Naoma, W.Va., paid tribute to the 29 miners who were killed in the accident.

Many had been praying for a miracle as four the 29 were unaccounted for up until Saturday.

Rescue workers found the bodies of the final four miners deep in the coal mine, making last Monday’s violent explosion the worst since 1972, when 91 miners died in a fire at the Sunshine Mine in Kellogg, Idaho.

According to officials, recovery crews were in the coal mine Monday, hoping to bring out the last nine bodies. Recovery attempts have to date been hampered by high levels of hazardous gases.

President Barack Obama on Monday ordered U.S. flags in West Virginia to be flown at half staff as a “mark of respect for the memory of those who perished in the mine explosion in Montcoal.” A similar declaration had been made by Gov. Manchin on Saturday.

Courtesy of Christian Post at http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100412/w-va-gov-calls-for-moment-of-silence-for-miners/index.html

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Ex-Muslim teen seeks U.S. refuge

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 6, 2010

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBUS, Ohio | A teenage girl who converted to Christianity and ran away from home is being blocked by her Muslim parents from fighting the possibility of deportation, her attorney told a judge Monday in an ongoing custody dispute.

Rifqa Bary, 17, who fled home last year and stayed with a Florida minister whom she met on Facebook, is an illegal immigrant and does not want to be returned to her native Sri Lanka because she fears being harmed or killed. All four major schools of Islamic jurisprudence recommend death as the penalty for conversion from Islam.

Her attorney, Angela Lloyd, asked a judge to sign an order stating that reunification with her parents is not possible by her 18th birthday in August.

The order would allow Rifqa, who is in foster care, to apply for special immigration status without her parents’ consent.

Omar Tarazi, an attorney for the parents, objected, telling the judge that he had been unaware of Rifqa’s separate maneuver to apply to an immigration court. He said the parents previously filed an immigration application for the whole family, all of whom are in the U.S. illegally.

Franklin County Juvenile Court Judge Elizabeth Gill declined to issue the order without first holding a hearing next month. She also declined to remove a gag order that prevents attorneys from discussing the case publicly.

Rifqa and her parents, Mohamed and Aysha Bary, have agreed to follow a counseling plan drawn up by a county child welfare agency to try to resolve the family’s conflict. It requires both sides to work with individual counselors and to try to attend joint counseling.

But a face-to-face meeting remains unlikely anytime soon.

Jim Zorn, a children’s services attorney, told the judge that Rifqa continues to believe that a reconciliation with her parents is impossible. Rifqa’s counselor has indicated that contact with her parents would be premature, he said.

Rifqa has also complained that her parents have not responded to an emotional letter sent to them through a counselor that explains why their relationship broke down, Ms. Lloyd said.

The letter was more like a list of 20 questions that read like a backdoor interrogation prepared by attorneys, Mr. Tarazi said. It included questions such as, “Why don’t I have happy memories of my childhood?” he said.

The parents want to respond but also want assurances that Rifqa’s attorneys are not interfering with the process, Mr. Tarazi said.

Judge Gill ordered both attorneys to stay away from the counselors.

Courtesy of Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/apr/06/ex-muslim-teen-seeks-us-refuge/

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The Founding Fathers on Creation and Evolution

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 5, 2010

 

By David Barton 

While uninformed laymen erroneously believe the theory of evolution to be a product of Charles Darwin in his first major work of 1859 (The Origin of Species), the historical records are exceedingly clear that the evolution-creation-intelligent design debate was largely formulated well before the birth of Christ. Numerous famous writings have appeared on the topic for almost two thousand years; in fact, our Founding Fathers were well-acquainted with these writings and therefore the principle theories and teachings of evolution – as well as the science and philosophy both for and against that thesis – well before Darwin synthesized those centuries-old teachings in his writings.

Nobel-Prize winner Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) explains: “The general idea of evolution is very old; it is already to be found in Anaximander (sixth century B.C.). . . . [and] Descartes [1596-1650], Kant [1724-1804], and Laplace [1749-1827] had advocated a gradual origin for the solar system in place of sudden creation.” 1 Professor Henry Fairfield Osborn (1857-1935), a zoologist and paleontologist, agrees, declaring that there are “ancient pedigrees for all that we are apt to consider modern. Evolution has reached its present fullness by slow additions in twenty-four centuries.” 2 He continues, “Evolution as a natural explanation of the origin of the higher forms of life . . . developed from the teaching of Thales [624-546 B.C.] and Anaximander [610-546 B.C.] into those of Aristotle [384-322 B.C.]. . . . and it is startling to find him, over two thousand years ago, clearly stating, and then rejecting, the theory of the survival of the fittest as an explanation of the evolution of adaptive structures.” 3 And British anthropologist Edward Clodd (1840-1930) similarly affirms that, “The pioneers of evolution – the first on record to doubt the truth of the theory of special creation, whether as the work of departmental gods or of one Supreme Deity, matters not – lived in Greece about the time already mentioned: six centuries before Christ.” 4

For example, Anaximander (610-546 B.C.) introduced the theory of spontaneous generation; Diogenes (412-323 B.C.) introduced the concept of the primordial slime; Empedocles (495-455 B.C.) introduced the theory of the survival of the fittest and of natural selection; Deomocritus (460-370 B.C.) advocated the mutability and adaptation of species; the writings of Lucretius (99-55 B.C.) announced that all life sprang from “mother earth” rather than from any specific deity; Bruno (1548-1600) published works arguing against creation and for evolution in 1584-85; Leibnitz (1646-1716) taught the theory of intermedial species; Buffon (1707-1788) taught that man was a quadruped ascended from the apes, about which Helvetius also wrote in 1758; Swedenborg (1688-1772) advocated and wrote on the nebular hypothesis (the early “big bang”) in 1734, as did Kant in 1755; etc. It is a simple fact that countless works for (and against) evolution had been written for over two millennia prior to the drafting of our governing documents and that much of today’s current phraseology surrounding the evolution debate was familiar rhetoric at the time our documents were framed.

In fact, Dr. Henry Osborn (1857-1935), curator of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, identifies four periods of evolution: I. Greek Evolution – 640 B.C. to 1600 A.D.; II. Modern Evolution – 1600-1800 A.D.; III. Modern Inductive Evolution – 1730-1850 A.D.; and IV. Modern Inductive Evolution – 1858 to the present. 5 He describes the third period in the history of evolution – the period in which our Framers lived – as a period which produced the pro-evolution writings of “Linnaeus, Buffon, E[rasmus] Darwin, Lamarck, Goethe, Treviranus, Geof. St. Hilaire, St. Vincent, Is. St. Hilaire. Miscellaneous writers: Grant, Rafinesque, Virey, Dujardin, d’Halloy, Chevreul, Godron, Leidy, Unger, Carus, Lecoq, Schaafhausen, Wolff, Meckel, Von Baer, Serres, Herbert, Buch, Wells, Matthew, Naudin, Haldeman, Spencer, Chambers, Owen.” 6

The debate over the origins of man has always been between a theistic and a non-theistic approach; and among those who embrace the theistic approach have been found (and still are found) three distinct sub-approaches: (1) intelligent-design (that which exists came into being by divine guidance, but the period of time required or the specifics of the process are unsettled, possibly unprovable, and therefore remain debatable); (2) theistic evolution (that which exists came into being over a long, slow passing of time through natural laws and processes but under divine guidance); and (3) special creation (that which exists came into being in six literal days). This, then, makes four separate historic approaches to the origins of man: three theistic, and one non-theistic.

In the non-theistic camp, Empedocles (495-435 B.C.) was the father and original proponent of the evolution theory, followed by advocates such as Democritus (460-370 B.C. ), Epicurus (342-270 B.C.), Lucretius (98-55 B.C.), Abubacer (1107-1185 A.D.), Bruno (1548-1600), Buffon (1707-1788), Helvetius (1715-1771), Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), Lamarck (1744-1829), Goethe (1749-1832), Lyell (1797-1875), etc.

In the theistic camp, Anaxigoras (500-428 B.C.) was the father of intelligent design; that same belief was also expounded by such distinguished scientists and philosophers Descartes (1596-1650), Harvey (1578-1657), Newton (1642-1727), Kant (1729-1804), Mendel (1822-1884), Cuvier (1769-1827), Agassiz (1807-1873), etc. Significantly, even Charles Darwin (1809-1882), strongly influenced by the writings of Paley (1743- 1805), 7 embraced the intelligent design position at the time that he wrote his celebrated word, explaining:

Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty, or rather impossibility, of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the Origin of Species. 8

 

John Dewey, an ardent 20th century proponent of Darwinism, explained why the intelligent design position – scientifically speaking – was reasonable:

The marvelous adaptation of organisms to their environment, of organs to the organism, of unlike parts of a complex organ (like the eye) to the organ itself; the foreshadowing by lower forms of the higher; the preparation in earlier stages of growth for organs that only later had their functioning – these things are increasingly recognized with the progress of botany, zoology, paleontology, and embryology. Together, they added such prestige to the design argument that by the later eighteenth century it was, as approved by the sciences of organic life, the central point of theistic and idealistic philosophy. 9

 

(This position of intelligent design, also called the anthropic or teleological view, is now embraced by an increasing number of contemporary distinguished scientists, non-religious though many of them claim to be. 10 )

The second camp within the theistic approach is theistic evolution, which was first propounded by Aristotle (384-322 B.C.). Other prominent expositors of this view included Gregory of Nyssa (331-396 A.D.), Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.), St. Gregory the First (540-604 A.D.), St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Leibnitz (1646-1716), Swedenborg (1688-1772), Bonnet (1720-1793), and numerous contemporary scientists. In fact, many of Darwin’s contemporaries embraced this view, believing that “natural selection could be the means by which God has chosen to make man.” 11

As confirmed by Dr. James Rachels, professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham: Mivart [1827-1900, a professor in Belgium] became the leader of a group of dissident evolutionists who held that although man’s body might have evolved by natural selection, his rational and spiritual soul did not. At some point God had interrupted the course of human history to implant man’s soul in him, making him something more than merely a former ape. . . . Wallace [1823-1913, who advocated natural selection prior to Darwin] took a view very similar to that of Mivart: he held that the theory of natural selection applies to humans, but only up to a point. Our bodies can be explained in this way, but not our brains. Our brains, he said, have powers that far outstrip anything that could have been produced by natural selection. Thus he concluded that God had intervened in the course of human history to give man the “extra push” that would enable him to reach the pinnacle on which he now stands. . . . Natural selection, while it explained much, could not explain everything; in the end God must be brought in to complete the picture. 12

In fact, Clarence Darrow himself (the lead attorney during the famous Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925 13 ), admitted during the trial that this was a prominent position of many in that day; 14 and Dudley Malone, Darrow’s co-counsel, even declared:

We shall show by the testimony of men learned in science and theology that there are millions of people who believe in evolution and in the stories of creation as set forth in the Bible and who find no conflict between the two. 15

 

Interestingly, writers who chronicle the centuries-long history of the evolution debate16 confirm that there have always been numerous evolutionists in both the theistic and the non-theistic camps, and much of the proceedings in the Scopes trial reaffirmed that a belief in evolution was not incompatible with teaching theistic origins and a belief in a divine creator.

The third camp, special (or literal) creation, was championed by Francisco Suarez (1548-1617) and later by Pasteur (1822-1895) as well as by subsequent contemporary scientists.

Significantly, then, the history of this controversy through recent years and even previous centuries makes clear that subsequent scientific discovery across the centuries has not yet significantly altered any of these four views. Therefore, it was not in the absence of knowledge about the debate over evolution but rather in its presence, that our Framers made the decision to incorporate in our governing documents the principle of a creator. One example affirming the Framers’ view on this subject is provided by

Thomas Paine. Although Paine was the most openly and aggressively anti-religious of the Founders, in his 1787 “Discourse at the Society of Theophilanthropists in Paris,” Paine nevertheless forcefully denounced the French educational system which taught students that man was the result of prehistoric cosmic accidents, or had developed from some other species:

It has been the error of schools to teach astronomy, and all the other sciences and subjects of natural philosophy, as accomplishments only; whereas they should be taught theologically, or with reference to the Being who is the Author of them: for all the principles of science are of divine origin. Man cannot make, or invent, or contrive principles; he can only discover them, and he ought to look through the discovery to the Author. When we examine an extraordinary piece of machinery, an astonishing pile of architecture, a well-executed statue, or a highly-finished painting where life and action are imitated, and habit only prevents our mistaking a surface of light and shade for cubical solidity, our ideas are naturally led to think of the extensive genius and talent of the artist. When we study the elements of geometry, we think of Euclid. When we speak of gravitation, we think of Newton. How, then, is it that when we study the works of God in creation, we stop short and do not think of God? It is from the error of the schools in having taught those subjects as accomplishments only and thereby separated the study of them from the Being who is the Author of them. . . . The evil that has resulted from the error of the schools in teaching natural philosophy as an accomplishment only has been that of generating in the pupils a species of atheism. Instead of looking through the works of creation to the Creator Himself, they stop short and employ the knowledge they acquire to create doubts of His existence. They labor with studied ingenuity to ascribe everything they behold to innate properties of matter and jump over all the rest by saying that matter is eternal. And when we speak of looking through nature up to nature’s God, we speak philosophically the same rational language as when we speak of looking through human laws up to the power that ordained them. God is the power of first cause, nature is the law, and matter is the subject acted upon. But infidelity, by ascribing every phenomenon to properties of matter, conceives a system for which it cannot account and yet it pretends to demonstrate. 17

 

Paine certainly did not advocate this position as a result of religious beliefs or of any teaching in the Bible, for he believed that “the Bible is spurious” and “a book of lies, wickedness, and blasphemy.” 18 Yet, this anti-Bible founder was nevertheless a strong supporter of teaching the theistic origins of man. Many other Founding Fathers also held clear positions on this issue.

John Quincy Adams 

It is so obvious to every reasonable being, that he did not make himself; and the world which he inhabits could as little make itself that the moment we begin to exercise the power of reflection, it seems impossible to escape the conviction that there is a Creator. It is equally evident that the Creator must be a spiritual and not a material being; there is also a consciousness that the thinking part of our nature is not material but spiritual – that it is not subject to the laws of matter nor perishable with it. Hence arises the belief, that we have an immortal soul; and pursuing the train of thought which the visible creation and observation upon ourselves suggest, we must soon discover that the Creator must also he the Governor of the universe – that His wisdom and His goodness must be without bounds – that He is a righteous God and loves righteousness – that mankind are bound by the laws of righteousness and are accountable to Him for their obedience to them in this life, according to their good or evil deeds. 19

But the first words of the Bible are, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The blessed and sublime idea of God as the creator of the universe – the Source of all human happiness for which all the sages and philosophers of Greece and Rome groped in darkness and never found – is recalled in the first verse of the book of Genesis. I call it the source of all human virtue and happiness because when we have attained the conception of a Being Who by the mere act of His will created the world, it would follow as an irresistible consequence (even if we were not told that the same Being must also be the governor of his own creation) that man, with all other things, was also created by Him, and must hold his felicity and virtue on the condition of obedience to His will. 20

Benjamin Franklin 

It might be judged an affront to your understandings should I go about to prove this first principle: the existence of a Deity and that He is the Creator of the universe; for that would suppose you ignorant of what all mankind in all ages have agreed in. I shall therefore proceed to observe that He must be a being of infinite wisdom (as appears in His admirable order and disposition of things), whether we consider the heavenly bodies, the stars and planets and their wonderful regular motions; or this earth, compounded of such an excellent mixture of all the elements; or the admirable structure of animate bodies of such infinite variety and yet every one adapted to its nature and the way of life is to be placed in, whether on earth, in the air, or in the water, and so exactly that the highest and most exquisite human reason cannot find a fault; and say this would have been better so, or in such a manner which whoever considers attentively and thoroughly will be astonished and swallowed up in admiration. 21

That the Deity is a being of great goodness appears in His giving life to so many creatures, each of which acknowledges it a benefit by its unwillingness to leave it; in His providing plentiful sustenance for them all and making those things that are most useful, most common and easy to be had, such as water (necessary for almost every creature to drink); air (without which few could subsist); the inexpressible benefits of light and sunshine to almost all animals in general; and to men, the most useful vegetables, such as corn, the most useful of metals, as iron, & c.; the most useful animals as horses, oxen, and sheep, He has made easiest to raise or procure in quantity or numbers; each of which particulars, if considered seriously and carefully, would fill us with the highest love and affection. That He is a being of infinite power appears in His being able to form and compound such vast masses of matter (as this earth, and the sun, and innumerable stars and planets), and give them such prodigious motion and yet so to govern them in their greatest velocity as that they shall not fly out of their appointed bounds not dash one against another for their mutual destruction. But it is easy to conceive His power, when we are convinced of His infinite knowledge and wisdom. For, if weak and foolish creatures as we are, but knowing the nature of a few things, can produce such wonderful effects, . . . what power must He possess, Who not only knows the nature of everything in the universe but can make things of new natures with the greatest ease and at His pleasure! Agreeing, then, that the world was a first made by a Being of infinite wisdom, goodness, and power, which Being we call God. 22

John Adams 

When I was in England from 1785 to 1788, I may say I was intimate with Dr. Price [Richard Price was a theologian and a strong British supporter of American rights and independence, with Congress bestowing on him an American citizenship in 1778]. I had much conversation with him at his own house, at my houses, and at the house and tables of many friends. In some of our most unreserved conversations when we have been alone, he has repeatedly said to me, “I am inclined to believe that the Universe is eternal and infinite. It seems to me that an eternal and infinite effect must necessarily flow from an eternal and infinite Cause; and an infinite Wisdom, Goodness, and Power that could have been induced to produce a Universe in time must have produced it from eternity.” “It seems to me, the effect must flow from the Cause”… It has been long – very long – a settled opinion in my mind that there is now, never will be, and never was but one Being who can understand the universe, and that it is not only vain but wicked for insects [like us] to pretend to comprehend it. 23

James Wilson 

When we view the inanimate and irrational creation around and above us, and contemplate the beautiful order observed in all its motions and appearances, is not the supposition unnatural and improbable that the rational and moral world should be abandoned to the frolics of chance or to the ravage of disorder? What would be the fate of man and of society was every one at full liberty to do as he listed without any fixed rule or principle of conduct – without a helm to steer him, a sport of the fierce gusts of passion and the fluctuating billows of caprice? 24

Daniel Webster 

The belief that this globe existed from all eternity (or never had a beginning), never obtained a foothold in any part of the world or in any age. Even the infidel writer of modern times, however, in the pride of argument they may have asserted it but believed it not, for they could not help perceiving that if mankind, with their inherently intellectual powers and natural capacities for improvement, had inhabited this earth for millions of years, the present inhabitants would not only be vastly more intelligent than we now find them but there would be vestiges of the former races to be found in every inhabitable part of the globe, floods and earthquakes notwithstanding. Unless we adopt Lord Monboddo’s [1714-1799, a Scottish legal scholar and pioneer anthropologist who advocated evolution through natural selection and man’s ascent from chimps] supposition that mankind were originally monkeys, it is impossible to admit the idea that they could have existed millions of years without making more discoveries and improvements than the early histories of nations warrant us to believe they had done. The belief in an uncreated, self-existent intelligent First Cause takes possession of our minds whether we will or not, because if man could not create himself, nothing else could; and matter, if it were not external, could produce nothing but matter; it could never produce thought nor free will nor consciousness. There must have been, therefore, a time when this globe and its inhabitants did not exist. The question then arises, what gave it existence? We answer God, the great First Cause of all things. What is God? We know not. We know Him only through His creation and His revelation. What do these teach us? They teach us, first this; incomprehensible power, next His infinite mind, and lastly His universal benevolence or goodness. These terms express all that we can know or believe of Him. 25

Thomas Jefferson 

[W]hen we take a view of the universe in its parts, general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition. The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces; the structure of our earth itself, with its distribution of lands, waters, and atmosphere; animal and vegetable bodies, examined in all their minutest particles; insects, mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organized as man or mammoth; the mineral substances, their generation and uses – it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, cause, and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a Fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their Preserver and Regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regeneration into new and other forms. We see, too, evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power, to maintain the universe in its course and order. 26

(A longer and more extensive piece on the history of evolution and the Founding Fathers can be read in David Barton’s law review article published for Regent Lawschool on the 75th anniversary of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. That piece, entitled “Evolution and the Law: A Death Struggle Between Two Civilizations,” is accessible at http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=97.)


Endnotes1. Bertrand Russell, Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1948), pp. 33-34. (Return)

2. Henry Fairfield Osborn, From the Greeks to Darwin (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1924), p. 1. (Return)

3. Henry Fairfield Osborn, From the Greeks to Darwin (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1924), p. 6. (Return)

4. Edward Clodd, Pioneers of Evolution From Thales to Huxley (New York: Books for Libraries Press), p. 3. (Return)

5. Henry Fairfield Osborn, From the Greeks to Darwin (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1924), pp. 10-11. (Return)

6. Henry Fairfield Osborn, From the Greeks to Darwin (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1924), p. 11. (Return)

7. James Rachels, Created From Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 10. (Return)

8. Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882, Nora Barlow, editor (London: Collins, 1958), pp. 92-93. (Return)

9. John Dewey, The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy, and Other Essays on Contemporary Thought (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1910), p. 11. (Return)

10. Some of the contemporary academics and researchers embracing this position include Dr. Mike Behe of Lehigh University, Dr. Walter Bradley of Texas A & M, Dr. Sigrid Hartwig-Scherer of Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Phillip Johnson and Dr. Jonathan Wells of the University of California at Berkeley, Dr. Robert Kaita of Princeton, Dr. Steven Meyer of Whitworth, Dr. Heinz Oberhummer of Vienna University, Dr. Siegfried Scherer of the Technical University of Munich, Dr. Jeff Schloss of Westmont, etc. There are numerous others that, to varying degrees, embrace the anthropic position, including Dr. Brandon Carter of Cambridge, Dr. Frank Tipler of Tulane, Dr. Peter Berticci of Michigan State, Dr. George Gale of University of Missouri Kansas City, Dr. John Barrow of Sussux University, Dr. John Leslie of the University of Guelph, Dr. Heinz Pagels of Rockefeller University, Dr. John Earman of University of Pittsburgh, and many others. (Return)

11. James Rachels, Created From Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 3. (Return)

12. James Rachels, Created From Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 57-58. (Return)

13. Scopes v. State, 289 S. W. 363 (1927). (Return)

14. The World’s Most Famous Court Trial: Tennessee Evolution Case; A Word for Word Report of the Famous Court Test of the Tennessee Anti-Evolution Act, at Dayton, July 10 to 21, 1925 . . . (Cincinnati: National Book Company, 1925), pp. 83-84, Clarence Darrow, July 13, 1925. (Return)

15. The World’s Most Famous Court Trial: Tennessee Evolution Case; A Word for Word Report of the Famous Court Test of the Tennessee Anti-Evolution Act, at Dayton, July 10 to 21, 1925 . . . (Cincinnati: National Book Company, 1925), p. 113, Dudley Malone, July 15, 1925. (Return)

16. See Henry Fairfield Osborn, From the Greeks to Darwin (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1924); see also Peter J. Bowler, Evolution: The History of an Idea (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984); see also Edward Clodd, Pioneers of Evolution From Thales to Huxley (New York: Books for Libraries Press); see also Robert Clark, Darwin: Before and After, and Examination and Assessment (London: The Paternoster Press, 1958), (Return)

17. Thomas Paine, Life and Writings of Thomas Paine, Daniel Edwin Wheeler, editor (New York: Printed by Vincent Parke and Company, 1908), Vol. 7, pp. 2-8, “The Existence of God,” A Discourse at the Society of Theophilanthropists, Paris. (Return)

18. Thomas Paine, Life and Writings of Thomas Paine, Daniel Edwin Wheeler, editor (New York: Vincent Parke and Company, 1908), Vol. 6, p. 132, from his “Age of Reason Part Second,” January 27, 1794. (Return)

19. John Quincy Adams, Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son on the Bible and Its Teachings (Auburn: James M. Alden, 1850), Letter II, pp. 23-24. (Return)

20. John Quincy Adams, Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son on the Bible and Its Teachings (Auburn: James M. Alden, 1850), Letter II, pp. 27-28. (Return)

21. Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Tappan, Whittemore, and Mason, 1836), Vol. II, p. 526, “A Lecture on the Providence of God in the Government of the World.” (Return)

22. Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Tappan, Whittemore, and Mason, 1836), Vol. II, pp. 526-527, “A Lecture on the Providence of God in the Government of the World.” (Return)

23. John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters, Lester Cappon, editor (North Carolina: University of North Carolina, 1959) pp. 374-375, to Thomas Jefferson, September 14, 1813. (Return)

24. James Wilson, The Works of the Honorable James Wilson, Bird Wilson, editor (Philadelphia: Lorenzo Press, 1804), Vol. I, pp. 113-114. (Return)

25. From Daniel Webster’s 1801 Senior Oration at Dartmouth, translated from the Latin by John Andrew Murray, received by the author from the translator on February 21, 2008. The oration is titled “On the Goodness of God as manifested in His work, 1801,” and is available at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~dwebster/speeches/goodness.html. (Return)

26. Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew A. Lipscomb, editor (Washington, D.C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XV, pp. 426-427, letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823. (Return)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gospel Tracts not Violation of Federal Law as Ray Comfort Celebrates Texas Victory Over Secret Service

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 3, 2010

Contact: Trisha Ramos, Living Waters Publications, 800-437-1893

MEDIA ADVISORY, April 1 /Christian Newswire/ — In June of 2006, the Secret Service raided “The Great News Network” — a Texas-based Christian organization, and seized 8,300 “counterfeit” Million Dollar Bill gospel tracts. In September of 2009, the president of the Great News Network, self-made millionaire, Darrel Rundas, took the United States Secret Service to court, claiming “illegal search and seizure.”

The “counterfeit” millions were produced and published by Ray Comfort. Comfort, who is a best-selling author and president of Living Waters Publications, said, “The day of the raid we were thrown into a panic. Here was the United States government seizing 8,000 of our million dollar bills, charging that they were “counterfeit” money. This was serious. We quickly alerted our customers as to the seizure, and to our amazement sold more than half a million that same day. There was so much demand, we had to take it off livingwaters.com because our staff were so overwhelmed.”

This week a Judge ruled in favor of The Great News Network and ordered the return of the 8,000 Gospel tracts. Comfort said, “We thank God that the Judge also ruled that our tracts are NOT violations of the counterfeiting law (the basis for the illegal search and seizure).”

Additionally, Judge Solis stated that two of the Secret Service agents “conspired together” to cover up their actions, including lying on the stand.
Comfort added, “For years we have wondered why the Secret Service didn’t raid Living Waters here in California. After all, we were the publishers of the ‘counterfeit’ money. This verdict is good news for all Christians, but particularly for our ministry because it means that we can continue to sell millions of the millions. To celebrate, we have slashed the price for this month and we are expecting another run on the bank. We are particularly pleased that we can also keep our new very realistic Trillion Dollar bill [PICTURED]. It’s such an easy one to give out. I just say, ‘Here’s your trillion. I’m trying to fix this economy.’ People love it.” To help further fix the economy, see www.livingwaters.com.

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Christians: Are we Letting Political Parties and Political Ideas Become an Idol in Our Hearts?

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on March 28, 2010

By Tim Rowe

The Bible is very clear that our heart’s allegiance must be to God first as we are to have no other gods or idols in our lives that we put above Him. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and put nothing ahead of Him. I think when we hear the word “idol” we think of a wooden pagan god or some huge statue of some ancient god of the past. We often think that idols only existed in Bible times. This is not true as an idol is anything that you elevate to a position of worship and devotion in your life and look to it for something that only God can provide. An idol is anything that is more important to you than God.  

Did you know that a political philosophy or ideology, a political party or cause can be an idol in our heart? In Timothy Keller’s book “Counterfeit Gods: the Empty Promises of Money, Sex and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters,”  he says, “It is the settled tendency of human societies to turn good political causes into counterfeit gods.” He says that when a society has lost the reality of God  they often turn to politics to give them fulfillment and meaning in life. “We can look upon our political leaders as “messiahs,” our political policies as saving doctrine, and turn our political activism into a kind of religion”  We can make the Republican, Democratic or Tea Party, socialism or capitalism, or any political cause into an idol in our heart. We can look to this idol for answers and meaning in life that only God can provide. 

He says when prosperity and power of the nation become unconditional that veto all other concerns, then violence and injustice can be perpetuated without question.  “If the end indiscriminately justifies every means…Thus a nation’s goal of material prosperity becomes an idol when we use it to justify the destruction of the natural environment or allow the abuse of individuals or classes of people. A nation’s goal of military security becomes an idol when we use it to justify the removal of rights to free speech and judicial process, or the abuse of an ethnic minority” 

Our political philosophy can become an idol when we make it a “saving faith.” An ideology, like an idol, is a limited, partial account of reality that is raised to the level of the final say on things. Ideologues believe that their school or party has the real and complete answer to society’s problems. Ideologies do not depend upon God but look to some idea or person for the answers to life and society.

Keller says one of the signs that an object is functioning as an idol is that fear becomes one of the chief characteristics of life. When we center our lives on the idol we become dependent upon it. If our counterfeit god is threatened in any way our reaction is complete panic. “We cry this is the end. There is no hope!” Keller says this maybe the reason why so many people respond to US political trends in such an extreme way. When the other party wins, a certain percentage talks about leaving the country. They become agitated and fearful for the future. They put the kind of hope in their political leaders and policies that once was reserved for God and the work of the gospel. They believe if their policies and people are not in power everything will fall apart. This is idolatry my friend and many Christians have fallen into this trap of setting this idol in their hearts.

 Another sign of political idolatry according to Keller is that opponents are not considered to be simply mistaken but evil. The increasing political polarization and bitterness we see in US politics today is a sign we have made political activism into a form of religion. We forget the main problem in life is sin and the only solution is God and His grace. If something besides God is the main remedy you sell out to, it is idolatry. We are to love and support our country and there is nothing wrong with being patriotic but the viciousness of politics recently and often by our Christian brothers and sisters has taken politics and political causes to idol status above God.  Human thinking always elevates some finite value or object to be the Answer. Socialism, Communism and even Capitalism has been exalted to godlike status as the answer to all society’s problems.  We have been sold the idea that only these ideas can make us free and happy and then we throw a little religion on top and think we are doing God a favor. Political ideologies make absolute promise and demand total life commitment.

The problem has been even though many Christians have meant well and it has been often for a good cause, they have allowed the idea to be elevated above God where their character and manner of life does not reflect Christ-like behavior. We are not imitating our Heavenly Father when we allow our minds and mouth to spew out hatred against every opponent of our idol. We have become a part of poisonous public discourse and allowed our hearts to be filled with bitterness, resentment, anger, hatred and arrogance toward any person that dares be on the other side. No one is exempt from these hateful accusations as they are hurled against the President and every elected leader and they are called anti-christs and worse. These Christians mean well but what has concerned me is that it has been elevated to an idol in the heart of many and that never glorifies God. This does not glorify Christ. It plays right into the pattern of the world. God still says we are to pray for our leaders not villify them. Neither political party has all the answers but God does. The Tea Party does not have all the answers but God does. We need to be involved in  the issues that affect our country, but let us remember that nothing should ever be elevated about God in our lives and only He can save and give us life and joy. No political idea or party can ever take the place of God in our lives.

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