HUMAN TESTING IN THE PAST
Einstein said it best: “Religion without science is lame, but science without religion is blind.” History is full of cases where one group of people were deemed expendable, and horrible experiments were done with an eye to making scientific discoveries. A famous example was the Tuskegee study in which doctors denied treatment to black males with syphilis to study the long term effects of the disease. New data shows that American doctors infected 700 Guatemalans with syphilis from 1946 to 1948 to test penicillin. In the 1950s LSD was given to unsuspecting American citizens for experimental purposes. Quaker Oats allowed researchers to put trace amounts of radiation in the cereal of mentally handicapped children. Those who suggest that moral decisions, and what they are based on, are of no consequence need to look at the historical record. Christian values as taught by the Bible are critical to allowing science not to be blind to the moral implications of experiments. Source: Time, October 18, 2010, page 30.
STRAIGHT BRITISH COUPLE SEEKS “GAY” PARTNERSHIP
Britain has a law which allows gays to have a civil partnership, available in Britain only to same sex couples. Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle do not want to get married, but they want to have a civil partnership, so they are suing the government. Legal experts are predicting they will win because discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation infringes on Britain’s human rights law. The charge is that the government is being heterophobic. The point that we have made from the outset of this debate is that while we oppose homophobia and are not interested in abusing anyone, when you violate the biblical definition of marriage, then any union of any kind has to be accepted — be it group marriage, polygamy, polyandry or civil partnerships. The bigger concern yet is the destructive nature of all sexual relationships outside of God’s plan for man and woman described in Genesis 2:24. Source: Associated Press and Yahoo News, November 9, 2010.
MUSLIM COLLEGE STARTS IN U.S.
One interesting contrast between countries in which Islam dominates and countries where some form of Christianity dominates is freedom of ideas. The first Muslim college dedicated to “a rigorous curriculum in Islamic Studies and Arabic” is located in Berkeley, California. Zaytuna College was started as an institute in 1996 and is moving towards becoming a fully accredited college. One has to wonder what would happen if a Christian university was started in a Muslim country. The contrast between the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 5 – 7 and the Koran needs to be shown to our young people so they can better understand the violence and struggles going on in today’s world. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Zaytuna_College&oldid=395701340 (accessed December 14, 2010).
END TIMES EARTHQUAKES
We continue to see material in the press by promoters of dispensational millennialism saying that the world is about to come to an end. One scientific area that is referred to is the frequency of earthquakes. Major earthquakes in Haiti, Indonesia, and other places around the world have been a disaster with tragic losses of life and property. However, the notion that this seismic activity is increasing or that it is unusual is not supported by the facts. As scientists measure earthquakes, they find that the crust of our planet is in constant motion. Since measurements have been recorded, the earth averages nearly 1.5 million earthquakes per year. Only about 15,000 of these could be detected by humans without scientific equipment, but they are active and dynamic in changing the crust of the earth. This raises new land from the sea and provides new resources for man. “Terra firma” is actually a dynamic, moving surface that constantly adjusts and changes. Nothing strange is happening in the crust at the present time, and human predictions of end times can be seriously misguided scientifically and biblically. Source: Science Illustrated, November/December 2010, page 70.
AMERICAN KNOWLEDGE ABOUT RELIGION BAD. A study known as “The U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey” asked 32 questions on the major world religions of people who were Jewish, Mormon, Catholic, Protestant, and Atheist. The questions were things like: “What religion was Mother Teresa?” “What religion has figures in Vishnu and Shiva?” “Which figure in the Bible was associated with remaining obedient to God despite suffering — Abraham,Job, Elijah or Moses?” “The person whose writings inspired the Protestant Reformation was who — Luther, Aquinas or Wesley?” “The religion that aims at Nirvana, the state of being free from suffering, is Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism?” The overall average score was 16, with Hispanic Catholics averaging 11.6, Black Protestants averaging 13.4, White Protestants 15.8, Jews averaging 20.5 and Atheists averaging 20.9. Fewer than half knew that the Dalai Lama is a Buddhist. The level of ignorance about religion is massive, and that has many implications for our country and the Church. Source: USA Today, September 28, 2010, page 8A.
HOW AMERICA SEES GOD. USA Today (October 7, 2010, page 1A) reports on a study by Paul Froese and Christopher Bader of 1648 U.S. adults on how they perceive God. Five percent said they were atheists, 24 percent said God is a distant God, 28 percent said God is an authoritative God, 22 percent said God was a benevolent God, and 21 percent said God was a critical God. Lots of questions can be asked about the study, but what is interesting is that no one in the study or the reviews discussed what Jesus actually portrayed God to be — a God of love, friendship, association, and joy. Our organized religious leaders have projected God as distant, critical, and authoritarian with an occasional shot of benevolence. Jesus spoke of God as one who loves us and sent Jesus to die for us. What happened to “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “My God and I walk through the fields together. We walk and talk as good friends should and do, …” God can be all those other things, but for Christians the emphasis needs to be on what God gives us — not what we fear He will do to us.