Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This hernia is due to my fish ancestry!

In a recent amusing story by the usually staid BBC, Michael Mosley claimed to find evidence of “fishy features” in human anatomy.1 Mosley, Clack, and others who reject the biblical account of creation must attempt to shoehorn scientific discoveries into uncomfortable—and often conflicting—evolutionary interpretations. They began by stating:
It may seem strange that humans have evolved from fish, but the evidence can be found not just in fossils but also within our own bodies.
It has long been known by many researchers, both evolutionists and non-evolutionists, that the fossil record fails to document Darwinism’s claim of gradual change from one kind of creature into another as one ascends the sedimentary rock units.2 Mosley tried to spin the evidence in favor of evolution:
The early human embryo looks very similar to the embryo of any other mammal, bird or amphibian—all of which have evolved from fish.
His arguments mirror the long-discredited “recapitulation” theory of German zoologist Ernst Haeckel, who infamously stated that human embryos develop through ancestral stages—such as the fish stage—before specializing into people.3

Mosley then wrote:
Your eyes start out on the sides of your head, but then move to the middle.
So what? Eyes have to start somewhere. It makes sense they should start on the sides of the head rather than the top or bottom.

And only in the strange land of Darwinism would someone suggest that hernias are throwbacks to a fish stage:

Inguinal hernias often require surgery, and if you are unfortunate enough to get one, blame it on fish.
How could a patient say with a straight face, “This hernia is due to my fish ancestry”?

Mosley played the “no obvious function, so it must be an evolutionary leftover” card in regard to the philtrum, the grooved area on the upper lip just below the nose. He wrote:
[The philtrum] has no obvious function. Instead it is an accident of our origins, a clue to our fishy past and how our faces first formed.
But the same “non-function” argument was erroneously applied to the appendix, adenoids, tonsils, coccyx (“tailbone”), and other structures and tissues that have since been found to have biological—not evolutionary—functions. The philtrum could allow people to show a wider range of lip motions, which enhances non-verbal and vocal communication. It has nothing to do with fish ancestry.

Amazingly, Mosley even tried to tie hiccups—that irritating spasm of the diaphragm—to evolutionary ancestry, although he stated it’s a “bit of evidence” that “we seem to have inherited from an amphibian ancestor,” a speculation based purely on the assumption of evolution.

It is hardly surprising that people and animals have blemishes such as hernias and hiccups. They are the result of the Fall and the Curse—not a fishy ancestry.

(for more, see Frank Sherwin, Fishy Evolutionary Explanations, Acts & Facts, Institute for Creation Research, August 2011)

References (selected)

1. Mosley, M. Anatomical clues to human evolution from fish. BBC News. Posted on bbc.co.uk May 5, 2011.

2. See Morris, J. D. and F. J. Sherwin. 2010. The Fossil Record. Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research; Denton, M. 1985. Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Bethesda, MD: Adler & Adler; and Werner, C. 2007. Evolution: The Grand Experiment. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Publishing.
3. See Wells, J. 2000. Icons of Evolution. Washington, DC: Regnery Press, chapter 5. 

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Unpacking Islam" streams live to churches on Sunday evening 9-11

On the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg go beyond the cliches and caricatures of Islam to present its central teachings as they interview experts as well as Muslim-turned-Christians whose stories you won't want to miss!

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and the subsequent U.s. military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, Islam has been thrust into the American spotlight. But even ten years later there's widespread confusion and controversy over the teachings and ideals of Islam.

- Is it a religion of peace?
- How much overlap is there with Christianity?
- What's the origin and message of the Qur'an?
- What is the Islamic attitude toward non-Muslims?
- How should we regard our Muslim neighbors?
- What's the best way to interact about matters of faith with our Islamic friends?

Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg will cut through the hysteria and offer a balanced and accurate assessment of Islam through their interviews with Muslim experts and the riveting testimonies of former Muslims who have become followers of Jesus.

The combination of easy-to-understand explanations and the gripping stories of Muslims-turned-Christians will both inform and inspire participants, who will walk away from the evening with a fresh understanding of Islam and how this fast-growing faith affects them personally.

One of Lee and Mark's special guests is Georges Houssney, Director of Horizons International, a ministry that reaches out to Muslims worldwide with the love of Christ.

Lee Strobel is a renowned Christian apologist and New York Times best-selling author. Mark Mittleberg is a best-selling author and sought-after speaker. Click here for pricing for this 2 hour webcast event. The event is scheduled for U.S. evening times: 7pm-9pm Eastern, 6pm-8pm Central, 5pm-7pm Mountain, and 4pm-6pm Pacific. For more information, see the Unpacking Islam website.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Diatoms, Triangles, and our Creator God

Many diatoms, a group of specialized single-celled plants, are shaped like triangles. These shapes are so highly ordered that they exceed existing human nanotechnology manufacturing capability. Evolutionists believe that sunlight striking these diatoms drove them gradually to end up as triangles by successive steps. Others believe that they went triangular to defend themselves from predatorsA better explanation is that our Creator God designed them in this incredible way from the beginning, without the aid of evolution.

Selections from The Mighty Triangle: A Microscopic Hammer of Design, by Mark H. Armitage.

(These selections by Marko Malyj are of the article published in Creation Research Society Quarterly Journal, Volume 47, Number 4, Spring 2011)

Diatoms, a group of specialized single-celled plants that live in aquatic systems, exhibit remarkable geometric body styles—particularly when it comes to triangles. Diatoms are known for the intricate beauty of their self-manufactured shells, but they also represent a massive component of all aquatic bio mass, upwards of 80% in some cases. They capture more global carbon than all terrestrial rainforests combined (Karthick, 2009).

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"Simple" diatoms are better than human technology

These shapes are so highly ordered that they exceed the existing human nanotechnology manufacturing capability (Gordon, et al., 2008; Hildebrand et al., 2009). Optics manufacturers have discovered centric diatoms can be used as ready-made lenses to focus very small spots (10nm) of laser light. They are not only better than anything humans can currently manufacture but can also be cheaply and rapidly cultured in enormous numbers (DeStefano et al., 2007; Vrieling et al., 2000). Other new applications of diatom nanostructure include the development of robotic nanoscale medical machines for highly localized drug delivery or tissue repair, for use in biophotics as mentioned above, and for 3D computing development (Gordon et al., 2008). Actual living computers made from diatom chips could be in our future!

Evolutionists grope toward the triangle

Evolutionists contend that their complex geometric shapes and symmetry might form by a successive series of very small changes that produce intermediate steps (DeCarlo and Metaxas, 1998; Martindale and Henry, 1998; Finerty, 2005; Busch and Zachgo, 2009); each improving over the last to eventually arrive at perfect shapes, such as the triangular shape seen in Figures 5–12. It strains one’s credulity to imagine a long series of steps to arrive at a perfect triangular shape, yet these workers are convinced that it can happen in spite of the lack of evidence, including fossil evidence.

A very sophisticated mathematical formula (called the Superformula) that allows one to generate flat geometric shapes by the manipulation of relevant variables was recently published (Gieles, 2003). Geometric shapes, such as triangles employed by diatoms, can be derived in this fashion, but only in two dimensions: top to bottom and left to right.

What cannot be explained by this single (and very complex) formula is the three dimensional symmetry that diatoms make by the untold giga-billions each and every day. It requires two or more superformulae multiplied together to account for these three-dimensional symmetrical body shapes (Wikipedia, 2010).

Stories of triangle evolution

Many, such as Bunn (2009), contend that the earth is constantly absorbing high-energy sunlight and that this alone, plus natural law, is sufficient for the evolution of complex body shapes in direct opposition to the second law. But it is counterintuitive (and unobserved) to assume that sunlight striking a round or amorphous diatom can drive it to become a triangle by successive steps. Triangle body shapes are a hallmark of design.

Predation of diatoms by more advanced organisms is an explanation of triangular body shape that, as of late, has taken root. It is postulated that complex geometric body shapes may have evolved and continue to evolve) to counter the ever escalating “arms-race” of predation (Hamm, 2005). Triangles represent an effort by the diatoms to escape predation by staying “one step ahead” of the predator and display a body shape that would “confuse” or otherwise “confound” them. 

Diatoms, Triangles, and Truth

No matter what absurd yarn evolutionists spin to explain symmetry and specific shape in living organisms, one cannot escape the gnawing intuition that these compelling structures are there because of some purposeful planning.

We must conclude that diatom triangles are designed by a Designer. This is the only explanation that fits common intuition, and is supported by the empirical evidence. What is even more incredible is that this Designer has revealed Himself to us through the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ.

References (selected)

Busch, A., and S. Zachgo. 2009. Flower symmetry evolution: towards understanding the abominable mystery of angiosperm radiation. BioEssays 31:1181–1190.

DeCarlo, D., and D. Metaxas. 1998. Shape evolution with structural and topological changes using blending. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence 20(11): 1186–1205.

Finnerty, J.R. 2005. Did internal transport, rather than directed locomotion, favor the evolution of bilateral symmetry in animals? BioEssays 27(11): 1174–1180.

Gordon, R., D. Losic, M.A. Tiffany, S.S. Nagy, and F.A.S. Sterrenburg. 2008. The glass menagerie: diatoms for novel applications in nanotechnology. Trends in Biotechnology 27(2): 116–127.

Hamm, C.E. 2005. The evolution of advanced mechanical defenses and potential technological applications of diatom shells. Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology 5(1): 108–119.

Hildebrand, M., S. Kim, D. Shi, K. Scott, and S. Subramanium. 2009. 3D imaging of diatoms with ion abrasion scanning electron microscopy. Journal of Structural Biology 166:316–328.

Karthick, B. 2009. Genome sequencing of cells that live inside glass cages reveals their past history. Current Science 96(3): 334–337.

Martindale, M.Q. and J.Q. Henry. 1998. The development of radial and biradial symmetry: the evolution of bilaterality. American Zoologist 38:672–684.

Wikipedia. 2010. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superformula (accessed 5/9/10)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

500 Christians killed, 300 churches burned after Nigerian elections

Kaduna's streets were littered with charred corpses, evidence of two days of violence during which rioters murdered Christians and burned churches, police stations and homes in northern Nigeria. The rampage began on April 18, after Nigerian voters elected a Christian to the nation's highest office. While the Christian majority in southern Nigeria rejoiced, the Muslim majority in the north retaliated.

The riots began in at least five northern states almost simultaneously with the release of the election results. Angry mobs massacred hundreds of Christians, burned more than 300 churches and destroyed countless Christian homes.

After security forces had finally enforced a fragile peace in the area, an estimated 500 people had been killed, according to Nigeria's Civil Rights Congress. In addition, thousands had fled their homes, fearing continued attacks. The Red Cross reported that 48,000 displace people were living in tents and makeshift camps set up by the government.

(from Voice of the Martyrs newsletter, August 2011)

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Intelligent Design should not Ignore the Bible

In our time, founders of the Intelligent Design Movement (IDM) employed the “wedge” strategy, an approach to design-focused science that intentionally uses a closed-Bible approach to investigating earth history and origins, with a goal to remove “religion” from academic discussions in order to prove that science “naturally” exhibits design.

As a strategy, IDM abandons public acknowledgment of the Lord Jesus Christ as earth’s Designer and Creator in order to gain a hearing on the topic of biological design. As a consequence, avoiding talk about the identity of the Designer allows the apologetic of IDM to accommodate theistic evolution, or any other unbiblical kind of “designer,” as the imagined producer of complicated life forms.

Second, IDM’s failure to treat Scripture as authoritatively relevant opens the door to evolutionary anthropological theories, such as one proposed by Dr. William Dembski, who imagines that hominid animals were morphed into Adam and Eve and then specially blessed by a miraculous amnesia of their evolutionary ancestry.

Admittedly, movements like Intelligent Design, which essentially take the characteristics of religious deism, do occasionally post “gains” for God’s natural revelation (e.g., showing biology’s “irreducible complexity”). But the price paid for these gains is a net loss, because it gives the appearance that God’s Word is not needed and, thus, not authoritatively relevant to origins science—and nothing is more false than that.

Rather, the closed-Bible approach is a “wedge” that separates God’s special revelation from His general revelation, an unbiblical idea with tragic consequences, casting doubt on the Bible’s relevance and authority.

Real world apologetics, however, properly relates both forms of God’s truth to each other, as Psalm 19 illustrates:
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.…The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:1, 7)
(for more, see James J.S. Johnson, The Failed Apologetic of the Wedge Strategy, Act & Facts, Institute for Creation Research, August 2011)

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

How to find a Christian College that does not bow the knee to Darwin?

If you are looking for a good school that still holds to Biblical principles, ask the school whether their professors teach that Noah's flood really happened around the entire world, or whether God created Adam from the dust of the earth on the sixth day of creation. You will find that most Christian colleges and Bible schools have already given in to the teachings of evolution.

Most schools will tell you that all of their individual professors hold to the school's statement of faith, but no, that statement does not cover those topics, and that they respect the academic freedom of their professors to teach according to their expertise. If you were to attend to audit the classes of the apologetics, Old Testament, or science professors, and ask the professor these questions, you will find out that they believe in Jesus, but they no longer believe in the Creator God, or that the book of Genesis is part of the gospel message!

So how do you find a school that is not seriously headed down the road of compromise with the unbelief of this world?
Cedarville College, Grove City College, Union College, Pensacola Christian College, Lee Univ, Calvin College, George Fox University, Lipscomb Univ, Dordt College, Geneva College, John Brown Univ, LeTourneau Univ, Messiah College, Oklahoma Christian, Olivet Nazarene Univ, Oral Roberts, Eastern Nazarene College, Point Loma Univ, Bob Jones Univ, Seattle Pacific Univ, Secular Universities...
One way is to look at the list of schools you are considering, locate a professor there who has not yet "bent the knee to" Darwin, and contact them directly to ask about the school you are considering.

The Association of Christian Graduate Researchers (ACGR) offers an extraordinary resource for doing this: Darwin Skeptics - A Select List of Science Academics, Scientists, and Scholars Who are Skeptical of Darwinism, by Dr. Jerry Bergman.

Dr. Bergman explains that "many on this list are secure tenured professors, teach at Christian Universities that protect their academic freedom to criticize Darwinism." They all reject "the belief that evolution and common decent can account for the existence of all life. Most persons on this list are also skeptical of the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Furthermore, all stressed that careful examination of the evidence for Darwinism should be encouraged."

If you are considering a secular university, Dr. Bergman's list is extremely helpful to find a professor and mentor who will help you keep your Biblical faith and grow in the Lord (even if that professor is not a professing Christian!), just by the mere fact that they do not blindly follow the mainstream views on evolution and a godless universe.

If you are interested in entering the field of science as a career, ACGR offers you a virtual academic community where you can work together to address problems of scientific inquiry related to the Bible, by developing scientific theories, and working on computational simulations and experiments. ACGR's goal is to develop a new generation of faculty at secular universities that embrace a Biblical creationist worldview to conduct their research and teaching. This community will mentor graduate students to perform state-of-the-art research related to the Bible and publish their work in secular and Christian journals, and help prepare faculty to be missionary professors at universities in countries where missionaries are not welcome.

Here is how ACGR's mentorship strategy looks:

ACGR offers financial support to gifted science students who wish to serve the Lord, and takes donations to support this ministry.

This is an exciting vision! Pray for the Lord to raise up a new generation of scientists that embrace a Biblical worldview. And ask the Lord how he can use you!

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Sorry, Sperm Whales could not have Evolved in Stages

Sperm whales feed mainly on large cephalopods such as squid, which they find at depths of 400–1,200 meters during dives that can last more than two hours. At these depths, there is essentially no sunlight. What wisdom exists in the design of these magnificent creatures! It is utter folly to suggest that such a perfect biological system could have developed by chance and in stages. In deep, dark water, such a method for finding food either works right the first time or never at all.

Scientists have learned that sperm whales use echolocation, in much the same manner as do bats. During dives, sperm whales make loud clicks at regular intervals, listening to the reflection of these sound waves off any nearby objects, such as schools of squid. These clicks have high directionality, high
source levels, and frequencies around 15 kHz, suitable for long-range sonar.

Like bats, the whales are able to process the timing of reflected sound waves to develop a picture in their minds of the location of nearby prey. When prey are detected, the whales then make clicks with increasing
frequency to give more rapid updates on the precise location of prey just before capture.

The Bible teaches that living creatures were created according to kinds. Yes, the sperm whale is an example of a marine animal specially equipped by God to find food in its environment!

(from Jonathan C. O'Quinn, Sperm Whale Echolocation, Creation Matters, a publication of Creation Research Society, Volume 16, Number 3, May/June 2011, to appear at http://www.creationresearch.org/creation_matters/pdf/2011/CM16%2003%20low%20res.pdf)

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Church Planting Movements are Fueled by Discipleship, not Charity

The local pastor pulled the western Christian aside and described the effect of the aid on his congregation: Although he was grateful for the help, the shipments had depressed local initiative, as many vendors within the church and community could no longer compete with the free shipments of supplies. Instead of inspiring a spirit of generosity and giving, the shipments had created a sense of dependency on foreign aid.

He said, “We need a hand up, not a handout.”

Charity can help in a crisis, but generally … 
  • reduces personal initiative,
  • undermines local businesses,
  • hinders long-term growth, and
  • are unsustainable.
In contrast, business models can …
  • cultivate personal initiative,
  • generate income for house church leaders and their coaches, and
  • sustainably reduce the local cost of goods.
Large-scale efforts to address poverty can be hindered by corruption at high levels and/or spiritual forces which rob the poor of their initiative and creativity. The collective discipling, personal transformation and trust relationships which develop in Church Planting Movements (CPMs) produce the kind of “spiritual capital” necessary to sustain businesses that break the poverty cycle.

CPMs are flourishing among the poor, and the relational discipling of CPMs creates an ideal environment for the propagation of literacy, hygiene education, and business development, as they pursue their main mission of leading people to Christ!

(for more, see Peter Greer, A Hand Up Not a HandoutWhy Enterprise and Business Are Changing Our Approach to Poverty Alleviation, and Robby Butler, Steve Downey, and Nick Noll, Turning Wine into Clean Water?An invitation to Explore the Possibilities, Mission Frontiers, July-August 2011)

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Temptations of Dinosaur Scientists

A new dinosaur species is named somewhere in the world every 2 weeks. But over half of the named dinosaurs are misclassified, according to paleontologist Michael J. Benton. Why? Scientists are blind to the problem.

Apparently a non-scientific concept, human pride, is to blame. “Part of the problem,” according to John Horner of Science Magazine News, “is that scientists are sometimes too keen on finding and naming new dinosaurs.” Naming a new dinosaur gets you noticed and published. As a result, fossil hunters tend to magnify fossil differences that they imagine instead of the similarities. Then they rush to name a new dinosaur, and are generally rewarded with recognition and additional funding.

Too many supposedly new discoveries are actually duplicates of animals already on the books. Additionally, paleontologists are coming to realize that the bones of an adult dinosaur can be very different from those of a juvenile animal of the same species and can easily mislead scientists into thinking they are two different species.

This is a scientific Ponzi scheme, where will it stop? Scientists will continue giving in to their temptations … It will take a Biblical perspective on human nature to turn Science around to truth.

(Based on from Dinosaur Classification is a Mess, by David Coppedge, Creation-Evolution Headlines, May 2011, also published in Creation Matters, a publication of Creation Research Society, Volume 16, Number 3, May/June 2011, to appear at http://www.creationresearch.org/creation_matters/pdf/2011/CM16%2003%20low%20res.pdf)

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Church Bulldozed

Simple disputes between Christians and Muslims in Pakistan often turn violent because some Muslims view Christians as infidels who do not deserve the same rights as the Muslim majority.

In November of last year, Pastor Sarwar Masih of the King of Kings Church near Lahore was confronted by an angry neighbor. "You cannot build a church building in this area!" Muhammad Habib Bhatti told the pastor. "We have a mosque in this village, and there is no need to build a church."

This is what is left of the church building.
Days later, on Nov. 15, Muhammad Bhatti and eight friends came to the church dressed as police officers and began shouting at the Christians. "They were chanting and threatening us," said a witness, "saying if anybody comes out of his home to stop us, we will kill him." The men then began throwing stones and bricks, one of which struck a 3-year-old on the head. Eventually, a bulldozer moved in and demolished the church building. Irate Muslims also tore pages of a Bible.

Later, a local official offered to pay church members 50,000 rupees, or $582, to forget the incident. The Christians refused and demanded that the attackers be arrested. The Christians said many of their Muslim neighbors had no objection to the church building or their prayer meetings.

(from Voice of the Martyrs newsletter, August 2011)

(for additional info, see Gary Lane, Church Bulldozed in Pakistan, CBN News)

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why Pain and Suffering? They are Signs of Paradise Lost…

Evolutionists cannot explain why their "Mother nature" went to all the extra effort of making pain so excruciating. But those who read the Bible can understand - sorrow, pain, and death are a result of the Fall of Man, part of the curse found in Genesis 3:16-19. And God can work through our pain to get our attention. C.S. Lewis said it best: "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world." For those who trust in Christ, in the life to come there will be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.

Selections from from The Evolutionary Problem with Pain, by David Woetzel.

(These selections by Marko Malyj are of the article published in Creation Matters, a publication of Creation Research Society, Volume 16, Number 3, May/June 2011, to appear at http://www.creationresearch.org/creation_matters/pdf/2011/CM16%2003%20low%20res.pdf)

So much pain and suffering in the world has always been a puzzle for philosophers and theologians. Theodicy is the name given to the question of how a just and loving God would allow this situation. But most people are unaware that for evolutionists there is a similar problem with pain.

Why is pain so intense? A false step will leave an organism writhing in pain, crying out for days, maybe weeks, before healing sets in. The cry of an animal in distress can attract predators. Debilitating pain is so intense that it overwhelms the desire to eat and procreate.

It would seem that natural selection would have favored less sensitive nerves or brain sensations. As the pain sensation was evolving there should have been some “push back” against going overboard. Why go to the extra effort of making it all so excruciating?

Leading evolutionist Richard Dawkins noted that "Pain, like everything else about life, we presume, is a Darwinian device, which functions to improve the sufferer’s survival… Why so painful? What’s wrong with a little red flag? I don’t have a decisive answer."1

Allen MacNeill, professor of biology and evolution at Cornell University, was blogging about the intense pain he suffered while passing kidney stones. He wrote,2

I describe all of this, not to elicit your sympathy, but to introduce ‘the problem of pain’ from the standpoint of evolutionary biology. All of the rest of our senses have a physical referent: heat receptors sense heat, cold receptors cold, taste receptors sugars and ions and acids and bases and certain amino acids in our food, rods and cones sense the presence of light photons, etc. But pain receptors do not sense the presence of ‘pain.’ No, ‘pain’ is an ‘artificial sensation.’ What pain receptors are adapted to sensing is cellular damage…. Yet, two questions immediately present themselves: why should passing a kidney stone produce pain at all, and why is the pain so intense?
The brain has no pain receptors, allowing patients to undergo brain surgery while fully conscious. But the rest of our internal organs acutely sense pain. There really is no good evolutionary explanation for this.

So why do we have pain? The most satisfying answer is not found in the evolutionary paradigm.

C.S. Lewis, the great Christian writer, stated the common question in his classic book The Problem of Pain: "If God were good, wouldn't he wish to make his creatures perfectly happy?"3 Lewis then examines how people tend to misunderstand “divine goodness.” We tend to view goodness as merely making us happy all the time.

We need to see that for God, loving kindness is giving us what is ultimately best for us. If suffering brings us closer to Him, then it is good. Perhaps one of Lewis’ most famous quotes is: "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."4

Ultimately, pain is a result of the Fall of Man. Sorrow, pain, and death are part of the curse found in Genesis 3:16-19. God said to Eve, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children…” He said to Adam, “cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life…”

Pain was not part of God’s original creation, and the day will come when it will be eradicated from the New Earth that He will create. Revelation 21:4 states, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.”

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References (selected)

1. Dawkins, R. 2010. The Greatest Show on Earth. New York: Free Press., p. 393.

2. Retrieved May 19, 2011, from http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com/2008/03/onproblem-of-pain.html

3. Lewis, C.S. 1940. The Problem of Pain. New York: Macmillan, p. 16.

4. Lewis, Ibid., p. 93.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The evidence is exhausted - Darwin was wrong about fish evolution

Jerry Bergman reviews two centuries worth of claims for fish evolution. No empirical evidence exists for their evolution from non-fish, even though 80% of all known fossils are marine animals, mostly various types of fish. Fully formed fish appeared very “early” in the fossil record. One common theory—that fish evolved from some wormlike life-form—does not work at all, because the fossil gap between worms and fish is considerable and has never been bridged by the scientific evidence. Additional theories, such as fish having evolved from a more complex invertebrate, also fail. Dr. Bergman's conclusion: scientists cannot improve on Genesis 1:21: “God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing which the water teems according to their kinds.”

Selections from The Search for Evidence Concerning the Origin of Fish, by Jerry Bergman.

(These selections, edited by Marko Malyj, are of the article published in Creation Research Society Quarterly Journal, Volume 47, Number 4, Spring 2011)

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Fish are one of the most common fossil types, with close to one half-million specimens in museums alone. But in spite of almost two centuries of searching, no evidence of gradual macroevolution has been found in this extremely abundant fossil record.

No Transitional Forms

The most common explanation is that few transitional fossils have been preserved. This is an incorrect conclusion, because we would also expect at least some of the modern fish we know today to be missing in the fossil record as well. However, every major fish kind known today has been found, indicating the completeness of the existing known fossil record (Benton, 2005). New fossil finds are almost always more of the same, and occasionally new species are discovered that only create more gaps in the fossil record and do not fill in existing gaps.

The evidence is exhaustive. Transitional forms have not been found, despite the expectations of evolutionists. Instead, all of them fit one of three categories:
    Devonian ostracoderms, now extinct,
    demonstrate variety, not evolution.
  • Extinct fish, which may appear very different from familiar fish, and yet do not show evidence for evolution. Instead they demonstrate the enormous variation found in the natural world.
  • "Devonian" sharks are virtually
    indistiguishable from modern ones.
  • Fully modern fish that can easily be identified as such. (Many contemporary paleontologists admit that even the earliest known fossil fish has all of the basic characteristics of modern fish).
  • Holopychius turned out not
    to be the Missing Link for fish.
  • Fish once thought to be extinct such as the coelacanth and holoptychius (considered by many to be the “missing link” between fish and the tetrapods until the first Latimeria specimen was found off the east coast of South Africa in 1938).

Just One Connected Lineage of Fish Ancestors does not Fit the Evidence

In contrast to evolutionary assumptions, the fossil record of all basic classes of fish, including Agnatha, Placodermi, Acanthodii, Osteichthyes, and Chondrichthyes, began at close to the same evolutionary time, mostly during the Devonian or before (Botella, et al., 2007, p. 585).

There exists so much variety compared to all other life-forms that some evolutionists are forced to conclude that fish must not represent a single “lineage of creatures that evolved from a common ancestor” (Maisey, 1996, p. 10) but several separate lineages. But this requires even more fossils to support the separate lineages. Evidence of those kind of fossils once again does not exist.

Sometimes a single discovery can move the earliest known example of a vertebrate back by as much as 40 million years, forcing a major reevaluation of the fossil record (e.g., see Repetski, 1978, p. 529; Jablonski, et al., 2003). The problem for evolution is that new findings tend to push the origin of fish farther back in time. This makes it even harder to explain fish origins, because less time exists for them to evolve.

The Worm Theory does not Work Either

The putative oldest fish ancestor, and the ancestor of all chordates, is considered by many paleontologists to be a small wormlike fossil animal called Pikaia (Long, 1995, p. 30). But the changes required to evolve small round worms like nematodes to fish were enormous, because the “worm” that became a fish
did not look much like a fish. It probably had no paired fins, no real head, brain or advanced sense organs, jaws or teeth. Most likely, its body was cylindrical, with simple digestive organs, a nerve cord running its length from front to back, and below that a sort of stiffening, supporting rod which was its only skeleton, made of a soft material surrounded by a tough sheath. This forerunner of a backbone, or vertebral column, is called a notochord and from it the animals that possessed it, including all the vertebrates, derived their name—the chordates (Ommanney, 1971, p. 60).

Furthermore, to evolve a fish from a worm, the worm nervous and vascular systems would need to be flipped over, because the fish main organs are upside-down when compared to the worm organs. Furthermore, although some worms “have tiny eye-spots, earstones, and tactile or taste organs,” these structures are all relatively simple and microscopic in contrast to the fish’s welldeveloped eyes, rostrum, and a large head with an advanced vertebrate brain (Kyle, 1926, p. 3).

Most round and flat worms lack a heart, whereas fish have a very well-developed, powerful muscular pump that lies ventrally just behind the head. Each of the aforementioned unique fish features must have evolved, and one of the easiest to document should have been the evolution of fins because they show both “early” in the fossil record and with great clarity.

In fact, no evidence exists for any of these speculative transitions. 

Many Generations of Evolutionists are Still Stuck on the Fish Problem

Eighty five years ago the fish biologist Kyle (1926, p. vii) concluded that fishes “occupy a peculiar position in the hierarchy of animal life” and that we “cannot be sure whence they came.”

Over fifty years ago, Gregory (1959, p. 123) was forced to say that “there are still many gaps” in the fossil record among fish.

Twenty four years ago, the creationist Gish "finds all the confessions he needs” in the writings of paleontologists to support the conclusion that each of the fish classes “appears suddenly and with no trace of ancestors” in the fossil record. (Strahler 1987, p. 408)

Today, the same is still true, and any possible evidence to the contrary has been exhausted. There is a complete lack of fossil evidence for fish evolution. Darwin’s claim has been falsified, thus supporting the creation account recorded in Genesis 1:21, which reads, “God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing which the water teems according to their kinds” (NIV).

References (selected)

Benton, M. 2005. Vertebrate Palaeontology. Blackwell, Malden, MA.

Botella, H., H. Blom, M. Dorda, P. E. Ahlberg, and P. Janvier. 2007. Jaws and teeth of the earliest bony fishes. Nature 448:583–586.

Gregory, W. K. 1959. Fish Skulls: A Study of the Evolution of Natural Mechanisms. Eric Lundberg, Laurel, FL.

Jablonski, D., K. Roy, J. W. Valentine, R. M. Price, and P. S. Anderson. 2003. The impact of the pull of the recent on the history of marine diversity. Science 300:1133–1135.

Kyle, H. M. 1926. The Biology of Fishes. The Macmillan Company, New York, NY.

Long, J. 1995. The Rise of Fishes: 500 Million Years of Evolution. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Maisey, J. G. 1996. Discovering Fossil Fishes. Henry Holt, New York, NY.

Ommanney, F.D. 1971. The Fishes. Time Life Nature Library, New York, NY.

Repetski, J. E. 1978. A fish from the Upper Cambrian of North America. Science 200:529–531.

Strahler, A. N. 1987. Science and Earth History—The Evolution/Creation Controversy. Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Christ-centered discipleship brings people out of poverty

Why are you wasting your time with us? We’re poor. We’re stuck here, and there is no way out for us.”

Believing that “there is no way out” is one of the most damaging aspects of financial poverty. If life will never get better, why try? If there’s no hope, why dare to dream?

Staff members of HOPE International, a Christ-centered microfinance organization, respond by telling these people belonging to India's two lowest castes, “But you’re created in God’s image, and He has a plan and a future for all of you.” As clients come to believe this message, they are in turn empowered to enact change in their communities. Progress is slow, but unmistakable - businesses are created, families have the financial resources to put their children in school, dignity is restored, and the voiceless speak. In one district of the slums, a savings group successfully petitioned the local government council to have electricity installed where there had previously been none. Instead of remaining resigned to their fate, these individuals now have hope and are working to build a brighter future.

HOPE is a global network of microfinance institutions focused on alleviating physical and spirtitual poverty through microenterprise development.

In HOPE’s programs, not only are clients encouraged to save, but they also learn biblically based business principles that teach them how to open and sustain a business. In India, clients receive training that equips them to make items like handbags and baked goods, as well as opportunities to sell the items they create at churches and local retailers. For example, in the slums of several cities in Western India, HOPE gathers financially poor together to save. In groups of 10 to 12, they come together to receive business training, contribute $2 a month to a joint savings account for productive investment or to meet family needs, and learn about the love of Christ.

When HOPE first entered the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, there were only 65,000 bank accounts for a population of 65 million – 1 in a thousand. For these individuals, microfinance fills a large gap, providing access to capital, savings accounts and training to those who wouldn’t otherwise have any access.

In Rwanda, HOPE has seen similar results in its partnership with the Anglican Church to provide those in poverty with training and a safe place to save their money. Of HOPE’s nearly 70,000 clients in Rwanda, school attendance increased from 28 percent of members’ children to 71 percent, even as church attendance increased from 65 percent of clients to 96 percent!!

(for more, see Peter Greer, Microfinance, A Look at the Technique as an Effective Strategy for Poverty Alleviation, Mission Frontiers, July-August 2011)

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Turkey a model for Arab revolutions? Think again!

Should Turkey, the "moderate Islamic democracy", be an example for countries going through Arab revolutions?

"Think again! Lift the covers off this mythical wonderland, and you'll find a cesspool, a government showing utter contempt for its own people by jailing scores of reporters, blocking thousands of websites, severely punishing anyone who dares utter a word of criticism."

Joel Brinkley, professor of journalism and former Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent, goes on to ask, "Guess which nation has jailed more reporters than any other. China? Iran? No, it's Turkey. The Turkish media say say 68 reporters are in prison right now - double the number last reported in either China or Iran. And some are jailed not just for a few days or week."

The Turkish government now blocks thousands of websites it considers offensive or insulting. Human Rights Watch says Turkey was blocking 8,170 websites when it checked early this year.

Turkey's leading Islamist political party controls all three branches of the government, and the military has been sidelined. Little will stop them from changing the rules to keep power into the indefinite future. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been in power since 2002, the recent elections are likely to be the country's last fair and free ones, according to political commentator Daniel Pipes. The AKP fell just a few seats shorts from the two-thirds parliamentary needed to unilaterally change the constitution, and will now put pressure on a few lawmakers to change their affiliation so that this can happen.

Such developments are a serious concern for Christian ministries. Here's why:

When in firm control, Islam does not allow competition. Freedom of religion is a Western concept that is only tolerated by Islamists for economic or political reasons.

Strict Muslims follow Sharia, a harsh code of laws derived from the Koran and the teachings and life of Mohammed. When circumstances allow, they normally enforce this code on others, including non-Muslims.

Sharia calls for the killing of any person who converts from Islam to Christianity. It also demands that all Christians be humiliated on a regular basis and be required to pay a special tax not assessed to Muslims.

If Islamists have their way in Turkey we can expect the deportation of most foreign Christian workers, the persecution of national believers, and the likely closure of most of their churches. Some might even have to flee the country.

To all Christian brothers and sisters: your prayers and support are important to the future of believers in Turkey!

(from a Christian prayer letter, July 2011)

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Saturday, August 06, 2011

Grand Canyon - quickly carved by the power of God's Flood

Michael Oard continues his creationist geology series on the origin of Grand Canyon. Millions of years hinder and do not help to explain how the canyon was carved. Sheet flow of water toward the east was stilled by the rising of the Rockies, which happened in a matter of months. While southern California was bottoming out afterward, the flow quickly reversed, creating channels that funnelled downward and quickly cut the tremendous canyon. Scientists with eyes to see can detect the incredible energy and power of God's re-creation, during the global Flood of Noah's day.

Selections from The Origin of Grand Canyon Part V: Carved by Late Flood Channelized Erosion, by Michael J. Oard.

(These selections by Marko Malyj are of the article published in Creation Research Society Quarterly Journal, Volume 47, Number 4, Spring 2011)

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Uniformitarian geologists have studied Grand Canyon for over a century...

The Grand Canyon can only be explained by recognizing
the awesome power and energy of the Flood.

West to East Sheet Flow.
They agree that two different stages were involved. The "Great Denudation" was the first of two erosional events on the Colorado Plateau. Great sheets of sediment were eroded, but left few canyons. It was accomplished by broad sheet currents flowing toward the east to northeast and.

This was followed by the "Great Erosion", when most canyons were cut, but which had very little sheet erosion. That is when the Grand Canyon was carved by currents flowing west, and the erosion was focused downward, and not spread across a broad area.

Therefore, there had to be a paleocurrent reversal in the Floodwater flow. Such a reversal would fit well with the transition from sheet flow to channelized flow. What caused that turnaround?

Geologist Elliot Blackwelder (1934) proposed that the uplift of the Rocky Mountains was the key factor leading to the carving of Grand Canyon. The rise of the Rockies caused precipitation to increase on the western side of the mountains. Increasing rain and snow led to large rivers that carved Grand Canyon. The two erosional stages were separated by millions of years.
While Blackwelder is probably correct that the rising mountains helped create Grand Canyon, he and other uniformitarians have not accounted for all of the field data, and none of them can even provide reasonable answers to the major enigmas surrounding the canyon. The scientists in question are intelligent, they have received ample funds to conduct numerous studies, and more than enough time has passed to work the problem. The most reasonable explanation for their failure is that they are trapped in a paradigm that cannot be squared with observations in the field.

Uniformitarians fail to comprehend just how it worked. Creationists offer a better paradigm: Grand Canyon was catastrophically eroded.

Upper sections of the Rockies become
exposed above the Floodwater,
breaking up the sheet flow.
In the Flood, the Great Denudation was caused by sheet flow toward the east and northeast. Then, the rising Rockies created a flow barrier that caused the broad Flood currents to reverse themselves, and flow back toward the Pacific Ocean. As the flow reversed, there was a period of time when the current energy diminished, much like slack water between tides. For a brief time, the Colorado Plateau would have appeared to be a giant lake or inland sea with mountain ranges rising out of the Floodwater, mainly to the east. At this time, practically all the southwest United States was still underwater.

Channelized flow toward the Pacific,
with a convergence of 2 (or possibly 3)
main currents carving Grand
Canyon across the plateaus.
When the flow reversed, channels began to form. Grand Canyon was carved by channelized flow to the west that increased in velocity as the relative water level fell. Strong flow from converging currents cut a notch in the Kaibab Plateau. The northwesterly current eroded the southeast Kaibab Plateau and the northwest trending run of Grand Canyon along the southwest edge of the Kaibab Plateau. That channel continued west, then south, then back to the northwest before exiting the Grand Wash Cliffs, based on topography, volcanism, and faulting.

At the time Grand Canyon was forming, Grand Wash trough and the whole area of southeast California was rapidly sinking, creating a rapidly changing bottom and influencing the flow of water off the Colorado Plateau. As the water level continued to fall, the eroding currents narrowed, forming the Esplanade and the Tonto Platform and the slotlike canyon of the inner gorge. The narrowing currents also carved the Little Colorado River Canyon and Marble Canyon with its backwards tributaries.

This creationist model, which utilizes the full power and energy of the Flood offers a much more reasonable explanation. A global flood, especially one receding from the continents, would have supplied more than enough water for the sheet erosion of large regions and for the channelized erosion of deep canyons. A rapidly sinking ocean bottom and the tectonic uplift of the continents would have added tremendous energy to that water. The mystery of the two-stage erosion event, the Great Denudation followed by the Great Erosion that formed the canyon systems, is entirely congruent with the two phases of the retreating stage of the Flood.

References (selected)

Blackwelder, E. 1934. Origin of the Colorado River. GSA Bulletin 45:551–566.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Poverty: The Church's Role, by Robby Butler

The Church has a strategic role in overcoming internal and external factors in poverty.

Internal Influences must be defeated through relational biblical discipleship:
  • Fatalism: Poverty is our destiny.
  • Hopelessness: Effort will prove unfruitful.
  • Laziness: Change is too much work.
  • Lies: God hates me and wants me to suffer.
  • Identity: I am a victim, inferior to others.
  • Addiction: I must numb my pain.
  • Limited Good: If you or I benefit, the other must lose.
Individual Circumstances may need such practical assistance such as micro-enterprise mediated through accountable relationships:
  • Subsistence: Where water acquisition consumes a family's time and energy, improved access to clean water allows pursuit of better employment.
  • Bonded servitude: High interest on even a small debt enslaves many, and micro-finance loans can create freedom to seek other employment.
  • Lack of skills: Training can empower a more profitable contribution to the community.
  • Lack of capital: Micro-finance loans enable entrepreneurs to increase the supply of existing products or services (subject to local market saturation or global competition).
Societal Environment: best improved through local and international advocacy.

Corruption: The best long-term remedy is widespread Biblical discipleship.

Lack of Infrastructure: Advocacy can encourage governments, charities and businesses to collaborate in developing infrastructure to facilitate commercial enterprise.

Lack of Basic Goods, Services and Employment: The Church can encourage and assist the development of healthy, enterprises which provide employment and discipleship while serving the community.

God didn't simply address our poverty by giving us instructions and resources. Christ emptied Himself and dwelt among us. The most effective approaches to breaking the poverty cycle include incarnational ministry which develops collaborative relationships to hear, serve, learn from and influence the poor, through biblical discipleship, practical assistance, business development and advocacy.

(reposted from Robby Butler, Poverty: The Church's Role, Mission Frontiers, July-August 2011)

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

10,000 Ethnic Groups still unreached for Christ

There are roughly 10,000 unreached ethnic or people groups without an indigenous, evangelizing church movement in their midst. In Matthew 28, Jesus used the word ethne when he told his followers to disciple all nations. He was speaking of these people groups - the target of frontier mission strategy. Each one needs a missionary team to work among them, to learn their language and culture, and establish a church movement in their culture which is capable of sharing the Gospel effectively with each member of their group.

Ethne (People groups) of Africa.

(from U.S. Center for World Mission prayer bulletin, July 2011)

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Danger surrounds Asia Bibi in Pakistan

In June 2009, Asia Bibi was arrested in Pakistan 2009 for her Christian witness. In Pakistan today, militant Muslims view Asia and courageous Pakistani evangelists as blasphemers. They are offended and angered by the truth of the gospel, and they think they are serving Allah by burning churches and jailing or killing Christians.

Before Asia Bibi's arrest, she worked picking berries for a farmer in Pakistan's Punjab province. One day when she brought water to her Muslim co-workers in the field, they refused to drink it, saying the cup had been contaminated by an infidel thief. The Muslims taunted Asia because of her Christian faith, saying that her prophet was born without a father. Asia responded, "Our Christ sacrificed his life on the cross for our sins. What has your prophet done for you? Our Christ is alive, your prophet is dead. Our Christ is the true prophet of God, and yours is not true."

Asia's co-workers reported her "blasphemous" words to the village's Muslim religious leaders. Five days later, several mullahs and local Islamists forced Asia from her workplace and took her by motorbike to the village center. She was then beaten by a crowd that had gathered there, and she was not allowed to defend herself against the blasphemy accusations made against her.

Asia was arrested and taken to jail. Her guards told her that if she would convert to Islam, they would let her go. But she refused, telling them, "You can kill me, but I will not leave my Jesus."

Seventeen months after Asia's arrest, she was convicted of violating subsection C of Pakistan's 295 blasphemy law - blasphemy against the prophet Muhammed - and was sentenced to death. Christians have called for Asia's release and for a repeal of the laws, while extremists in Pakistan continue to demand that she be executed.

Maulana Yusaf Qureshi, an imam at Peshawar's well know Mohabbat Khan mosque in northwestern Pakistan, has issued a fatwa against Asia, offering a $6,000 reward to anyone who kills her. Her family and friends are concerned that she could be murdered by another prison inmate or guard, or even poisoned by kitchen staff. She is confined to her prison cell for her own safety, and she cooks her own meals using groceries provided by her husband.

Though Asia cannot read, she keeps a copy of the Bible in her prison cell. A female Christian is allowed to read the Bible to her. She also prays with Asia.

Asia's Defenders Killed

Amid the controversy over Asia Bibi's death sentence, two Pakistani politicians were murdered for publicly supporting her. Governor Salman Taseer had visited Asia in prison on Nov. 20, 2010, and called for her release. Governor Taseer, a Muslim, was shot to death on Jan. 4, 2011, by his own bodyguard. The bodyguard said he killed Taseer because the governor supported a repeal of Pakistan's blasphemy law.

Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian and long-time champion of Christian rights in Pakistan, was killed by four gunmen who opened fire on his car as he drove to work on March 2, 2011. Bhatti had received many death threats because of his support for Asia Bibi and his ongoing efforts to repeal the blasphemy law.

Shortly before his death, Bhatti released a video testimony in which he said he would not be deterred by threats against his life made by those who "want to impose their radical philosophy in Pakistan." Bhatti said, "I believe in Jesus Christ, who has given his own life for us. I know what is the meaning of the cross ... and I am ready to die for a cause. I am living for my community and suffering people, and I will die to defend their rights."

Asia Bibi and many other Pakistani believers are under fire from Islamic extremists. But they continue to uphold the cross of Christ so others may know the truth. As their brothers and sisters, we are their voice around the world. Together, we will witness to all men of what we have seen and heard (Acts 22:14-15).

(from a Christian prayer letter, July 2011)

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Become a support partner for an adopted orphan like Katya

"Our youngest daughter's name is Katya. She was abandoned at the hospital. Her parents were alcoholics. They do not want to have any connection with their daughter. Her health is really bad because of lots of inborn pathologies. Please pray for her physical and spiritual health and revival. Weed need God's wisdom in raising all our children." (testimony of Nataliya and Oleksandr Tseplyayevy, Christian adoptive parents from Ukraine)

Katya is one of 60 children in the New Hope Orphan Care Program of Ukraine who were recently adopted domestically and live in a loving family. However, they have no prayer and support partners in the U.S. If you are willing to help Katya or other children who need support, please share this prayer need with your friends. Perhaps God will touch someone's heart and one more child in Ukraine will have a loving family who cares about her.

(from the New Hope International prayer letter, July 2011)

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Overcoming Poverty, does the Church have the Answer?

The poor have internalized the lies, "Give up! You don't matter. Nobody cares about you. Look around you: Things are terrible. Always have been, always will be." These lies must be defeated in order for the poor to get out of poverty, and they can only be defeated by presenting them with the truth of God's love and power through Jesus Christ--just what the Church is best able to provide.

In the West, poverty is almost exclusively viewed as a lack of material wealth, characterized by insufficient food, money, clean water, and medicine. But when over 60,000 people living in material poverty were asked to define poverty, however, they did not use such straightforward terms. Researchers Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett of The Chalmers Center for Economic Development said, “They tend to describe their condition in far more psychological and social terms. Poor people typically talk in terms of shame, inferiority, powerlessness, humiliation, fear, hopelessness, depression, social isolation, and voicelessness.”

These are the lies of fatalism, victimhood and powerlessness. They have lost the hope that they or anyone else can change their situation. They have come to believe that no amount of hard work can change their circumstances.

Biblical principles such as honesty, integrity, trustworthiness etc. are essential for an economy to work. The foundation of successful economies is the trust that is built through honest interaction between people. If you destroy trust between people in a society through dishonest transactions and corruption, the economy will decline. The poorest countries on Earth are often riddled with corruption and violence at every level of a society, from the government on down. The biblical character traits that make a prosperous society possible come from lives transformed by Jesus through an effective discipleship process.

But economic growth does not come automatically when people commit their lives to Jesus. People need training in ordinary basics like personal money management, how to run a business and good work habits. This should be part of our discipleship too as we plant churches. Church planting should lead to economic growth among the poor. If it doesn't, then something is wrong.

With a combination of effective discipleship and practical, locally-based economic solutions the poor can come to believe that they can do all things through Christ, including raising themselves and others out of poverty. They can then create their own wealth and not be dependent on outsiders for their survival.

Journalist and self-proclaimed atheist Matthew Parris wrote in The Times of London that—as much as he hated to admit it—he saw the importance of Christianity in development work. Growing up in Africa and returning years later, he saw that aid and relief work alone wasn’t enough. Christianity brought about true heart change: “The [African] Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them. There was liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world –a directness in their dealings with others—that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall.” In his article, Parris shares how the truths that Christianity teaches—that mankind has inherent worth and dignity—are the key difference in escaping poverty.

(selections from Rick Wood, Poverty, Getting to the Heart of the Matter, and Peter Greer, A Hand Up Not a Handout: Why Enterprise and Business Are Changing Our Approach to Poverty Alleviation,
Mission Frontiers, July- August 2011)

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